Baklava is the dish most people think of when they think Greek dessert. Baklava is a perennial favorite, a classic Greek pastry made with flaky phyllo dough that is layered with a cinnamon-spiced nut filling and bathed in sweet syrup. It’s crunchy and sweet and very decadent. This particular version is sure to please not only people who love Greek food but also those who favor nuts in their desserts. In this case, walnuts and almonds combine to make this version of the Greek pastry rich and flavorful.
- 1 pound walnuts, coarsely ground
- 1/2 pound almonds, coarsely ground
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pound phyllo pastry sheets
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 10 whole cloves
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
Prepare the Filling and Phyllo
- Mix the walnuts, almonds, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Carefully remove the phyllo roll from the plastic sleeve. Most packages come in 12x18-inch sheets when opened fully. Using a scissor or sharp knife, cut the sheets in half to make two stacks of 9x12-inch sheets. To prevent drying, cover one stack with wax paper and a damp paper towel while working with the other.
Assemble the Baklava
- Using a pastry brush, brush the bottom and sides of a 9x12 rectangular pan with melted butter. Begin by layering 6 sheets of phyllo making sure to brush each with melted butter.
- Add half of the nut mixture in an even layer. Pat it down with a spatula to flatten.
- Continue layering another 6 sheets of phyllo, brushing each with melted butter. Add the remaining nut mixture in an even layer. Top with the remaining phyllo sheets.
- Before baking, score the top layer of phyllo (making sure not to go past the top filling layer) to enable easier cutting later. (You can place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes or so to harden the top layers and then use a serrated knife to score.)
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until the phyllo turns a rich golden color.
Make the Syrup
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water and the sugar and mix well.
- Add the cloves and simmer over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes. You want the syrup to be slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and discard the cloves. Stir in the lemon juice. Allow the syrup to cool slightly.
- When the baklava is out of the oven and still warm, ladle the syrup carefully over the entire dish. Baklava can be refrigerated or stored at room temperature.