Classic Baklava

This is my mom’s recipe for classic baklava.  It’s not drenched in syrup and it’s not overly nutty – it’s just crunchy, sweet and perfectly balanced. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. filo dough
  • 1 lb. unsalted butter, melted
FILLING
  • 2 lb. chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • 2-3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
SYRUP
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

HOW TO MAKE IT

FILLING

  • Process the walnuts in a food processor until they’re finely ground but not too powdery (keep checking the consistency so you don’t over process) – you could also do this with a nut grinder if you have one
  • Mix the walnuts with the sugar, rose water and melted butter – start with 2 tbsp of butter and add in the 3rd if you think the mixture needs more moisture to stick together
SYRUP
  • Pour the water into small sauce pan over medium-high heat
  • Add in the sugar, keep stirring and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat, add in the lemon juice and keep stirring over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken and become syrup-like
  • Be careful not to burn the syrup, it should remain a light color like light corn syrup, not golden brown like caramel or maple syrup
  • Add the rose water in and blend well – take off the heat and allow to cool
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER…
  • Unroll the filo dough on a flat surface and cover the stack with waxed paper and a damp towel – this will prevent it from drying out and becoming brittle (you don’t want the damp towel directly on the dough because it will ruin it)
  • Lay out a sheet of filo and brush it generously with butter
  • Lay another sheet on top of that one and brush it with butter (repeat this until you have a total of 4 sheets)
  • Place an inch wide strip of walnut mixture along the bottom edge of the filo dough rectangle (make sure you place the walnuts along the longer side of filo)
  • Roll the filo dough around the walnuts, pinching it to make sure it’s tight, and roll it up totally
  • Cut the roll on the diagonal into pieces about 2 inches long (you should get approximately 10 pieces per roll)
  • Repeat this process until you’re out of filo dough sheets (you should get 4 rolls)
  • Place the pieces onto a greased baking pan
  • Bake at 350°F for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
    • Makes approximately 40 pieces
  • While the baklava is warm, drizzle it with the cooled syrup
Variation…
    • Brush a 9×13 inch baking pan with butter
    • Layer 6 sheets of filo dough, brushing butter in between each sheet
    • Spoon the walnuts over the filo
    • Cover with 6 more sheets of filo dough, brushing butter in between each sheet
    • Score the top 3 sheets with a knife
    • Bake at 350°F for approximately 40-45 minutes or until golden brown
    • Cut into pieces of desired size and drizzle with the syrup while still warm

   

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