Baklava


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tespoon lemon juice
  • Fillo (phyllo) dough (1 package)
  • 8 oz butter
  • 1 lb walnuts
  • 4 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup pistachios

About 35 medium diamonds - approximately 185 calories in each.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. You need to make the syrup ahead of time so that there is plenty of time for the syrup to cool before the baklava comes out of the oven. This is essential for the baklava to absorb the syrup. Pour the water in a pot, add the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and boil for five minutes. Reduce the heat further to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice, simmer for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool.
  2. It is important to use clarified butter for the best baklava. You can turn regular butter into clarified butter easily by simmering the butter in a sauce pan at low heat for about 20 minutes. The milk solids separate from the fat and rise to the surface. They can then be collected with a spoon and discarded.
  3. Finely chop the walnuts and mix them with 4 tablespoons sugar, set aside.
  4. If the fillo leaves are frozen, place them in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and then let them sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before you open the package. After you open the package, cover the leaves with a plastic sheet to prevent them from drying.
  5. Use a tray preferably about the same size as the fillo leaves. If you do not have such a tray, trim the leaves to the size of your tray.
  6. Using a silicon brush, grease your tray with clarified butter.
  7. Place two fillo leaves on the tray and grease the surface of the top leaf with clarified butter.
  8. Continue the assembly placing two leaves at a time followed by clarified butter until you finish 1/3 of the package.
  9. Spread 1/2 of the walnut/sugar mixture evenly.
  10. Continue with the assembly as above, two sheets at a time until you have about 1/3 of the package left.
  11. Spread the remaining walnut/sugar mixture evenly.
  12. Finish the assembly as above, by placing two sheets at a time followed by clarifed butter.
  13. Without putting clarified butter on the top leaf, cut the baklava into perfect diamonds using a sharp knife - use a ruler for perfect diamonds!
  14. Spread the rest of the clarified butter on the baklava. Use a spoon to evenly coat the top surface.
  15. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  16. Bake on the middle rack for 30 - 40 minutes (temperature variations from oven to oven can be significant) until a golden crust forms. During the last five minutes, an intense smell of butter should fill the house.
  17. As soon as the baklava comes out of the oven, slowly pour the cold syrup over the baklava. This is important for the baklava to absorb the syrup.
  18. Sprinkle finely chopped pistachios over the baklava.
  19. Serve at room temperature.
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