1 package of phyllo dough, defrosted in the fridge overnight
3 cups of raw nuts of your choice, I used 1.5 cups of raw walnuts and 1.5 cup of sliced almonds
1/2 cup butter
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of 1 navel orange
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Make the syrup first by adding the water and sugar to a sauce pan over medium high heat. Stir until sugar has disolved. Add the honey and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest. Let syrup cool completely.
- Place the walnuts and almonds on a cookie sheet in a single layer and then bake for 8 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. or until the nuts are a golden brown. Be careful not to burn the nuts.
- Let the nuts cool completely and then place in a food processor until they are ground up. Do not over grind and make pasty.
- Pour the nuts into a bowl and add the cinnamon and cloves and stir to combine.
- Now to assemble the baklava.
- Unroll the phyllo dough. Cut the dough in half with scissors to fit the baking dish. I used an 8 x 10. Cover 3/4 of the phyllo dough with a piece of saran wrap and then a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out as you work with a portion of it.
- Brush the bottom and sides of the baking dish with butter. Don’t over-do with too much butter as it will make the baklava soggy.
- Then lay 10 pieces of phyllo dough, one at a time in the dish. Lightly butter each piece of dough after you place it in the dish.
- After the 10th piece of dough, add half a cup of the nut mixture to the layer. Spread the nuts out with your hands to cover the layer.
- Then add 3 more pieces of phyllo dough, one at a time, buttering each piece as you place it in the dish. Then add another layer of nuts.
- Alternate between 3 layers of dough to one layer of nuts until all the nuts are used.
- Finish with 10 sheets of phyllo dough for the top. Butter the last piece on top too. Then cut the baklava into squares or diamonds before baking in the oven.
- Bake for 40 to 55 minutes or until it is golden brown.
- Once you remove the baklava from the oven, pour the cooled honey mixture over the top. Let it sit for at least 4 hours before eating. Store on your counter, uncovered.
You can also use any nuts you desire. Pecans are nice to use as well as a combination of mixed nuts. Just use raw nuts and then toast them in the oven.
- Remember to butter each dough layer lightly with melted butter.
- Cut the baklava before baking. It’s just easier.
- Roast the nuts.
- Make sure to cool the syrup completely and add it to the hot out of the oven baklava.