Everyone knows someone who is ridiculously talented. I have a friend who is not only an excellent nurse but also a fantastic cook, gardener, photographer, and hostess. Besides being good at all of these things, she is also a beekeeper. Her honey is gorgeous. It tastes pure, light, fresh and unprocessed. I bought some for myself and my grandparents.
In typical old-fashionedness, my grandparents eat their honey with butter on their morning biscuits. Since I rarely make biscuits, I needed a way to celebrate this honey. I started looking for recipes where honey is a prominent ingredient and found this baklava. I had never made baklava before and only eaten it once. This recipe looks and tastes impressive, like you have spent hours slaving over this traditionally Middle Eastern dessert.
- 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
- 1 pound chopped nuts
- 1 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup honey
Combine water and sugar in a small pan. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool as you assemble the rest of the dessert.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with butter. In a bowl, toss together the nuts and cinnamon. Set aside. Melt 1 cup of butter. Unroll the phyllo dough gently (it is very fragile). Cut in half with a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Place 2 layers of dough onto the greased bottom. With a basting brush, gently apply a thin layer of melted butter on top of the dough. Repeat layering until the dough is 8 sheets thick. Sprinkle with 2 or 3 tablespoons of the nut mixture. Top with 2 sheets of dough. Gently spread a thin layer of butter on the dough. Alternate nuts, dough, and butter until the pan is nearly full. After the last layer of nuts, create a top layer of dough 8 sheets thick. Just like the bottom, the top should have butter thinly applied between every 2 sheets.
Using a sharp knife, cut 4 long rows into the dough. Cuts should stop within 1/2 inch of the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the dough is golden and crispy. Remove from oven and spoon previously made sauce over the dessert. Let cool completely.
Baklava should be stored without a tight cover or plastic wrap because it tends to get soggy. I just covered with a layer of paper towels so the air could get in.