Here's a recipe from our staff files. Baklava isn't hard to make, it just takes a little time — and a lot of butter.
Dealing with thawed phyllo dough can be tricky. It's important to work fast and not let the dough get too warm.
But it's worth the effort. People will be impressed. And one pan makes many servings. Just cut in diagonal pieces and serve in festive cupcake wrappers. Unless they are made of foil, it's best to not cut and put the pieces in the wrappers until more than around two or three hours before serving.
1 lb. ground walnuts
5 T. sugar
¼ t. allspice
2﻿¼ t. cinnamon
Around 1 lb. butter, melted
1 box frozen phyllo dough
Grind walnuts in food processor and mix spices and sugar in it.
Thaw phyllo in fridge or on counter. This is tricky, you have to work fast with it because if it gets too thawed/warm, it sticks to itself. Usually there are two packets in a box, so work with one and leave other in fridge in the meantime. Still, it does have to be fully thawed or it will crack when you try to unroll it.
Spread a cookie sheet with melted butter using a basting brush. Lay out one layer of dough. Brush it with butter. Repeat this for about seven layers, buttering each layer. Then spread about ⅕ of nut mixture over the seventh layer. Cover with another layer and butter that. Repeat the walnut mixture/new layer/butter step four more times. Then do another six to seven layers of phyllo, buttering between each layer. Butter top layer and take a sharp or serrated knife and cut diagonally, penetrating the surface just about ⅛ inch — just enough to make an impression in the dough after it bakes.
Bake at 350° for one hour, laying foil over it for the last 15 minutes it if it appears to be browning too fast. Let cool for a time after removing from oven. Meanwhile, bring to boil:
2 c. sugar
1 c. water
4 T. honey
When it's boiling, pour in juice of half a lemon (minus the seeds), throwing in the squeezed half lemon also, and let mixture boil another five minutes, stirring constantly. Spoon this mixture over baklava, letting it soak a day or two before you cut it.
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