Saturday, December 24, 2011


This recipe comes from one of the best kind of cookbooks - an old church cookbook - published in 1957.  It's a cookbook that my dad's great Aunt helped put together and one that his mom & great aunt often used when cooking and baking Greek foods.

2 1/2 sticks butter, clarified (melted on the stove, with the foam skimmed off the top)
1 lb chopped walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
~1 lb phyllo dough

Combine walnuts and spices in a large bowl and mix.  Brush bottom of a 9x9 pan with butter, and then lay one pastry sheet down.  Brush with butter, and repeat until there are 4 layers of phyllo.  You'll have to trim the sheets to fit.  Add a thin layer of the walnut/spice mixture, then add a layer of phyllo and brush with butter.  Keep repeating a think layer of walnuts & 1 sheet of phyllo until the walnut mixture runs out, then finish with 4 sheets of phyllo with butter brushed on each.  Slice into diamond shapes before baking: slice into ~5 rows, then cut diagonally down each row.  Bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes, until top is brown.

Vanilla Bean Honey Syrup
1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 honey
1 cinnamon stick
vanilla bean seeds from 1 vanilla bean
(you can also add the scraped vanilla bean to the mixture and remove with the cinnamon stick)

While baklava is baking, make the syrup.  Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and let simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove cinnamon stick, and pour over the baklava when you take  it out of the oven.

Syrup recipe adapted from How Sweet Eats

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