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Baklava

The flaky pastry is worth the work
Best homemade Baklava recipe
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Baklava, a layered pastry popular in Greece, is dessert perfection. Make the dough homemade as instructed below or substitute prepared puff pastry sheets instead to save time. 

This recipe was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.

Ready in
2 h and 30 m
1 h 30 m
(prepare time)
1 h
(cook time)
36
Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 Cup water
  • 1 Teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 Cups plus 2 1/2 tablespoons (17.64 ounces) flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 Cup cooking oil
  • 1/2 Cup plain yogurt
  • Cornstarch, for flouring
  • Scant 4 cups (1 pound, 2 ounces) walnuts, coarsely ground
  • 1 Cup (2 sticks) butter, melted

Directions

Step 1: Heat the oven to 325F. In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups sugar sugar, 1 3/4 cups water and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Step 2: In a large bowl, sift together 1 teaspoon baking powder with 4 cups plus 2 1/2 tablespoons flour. In a separate medium bowl, beat together 2 eggs, 1/2 cup cooking oil and 1/2 cup yogurt. Gently stir the liquid ingredients into the dry. Knead to a fairly soft but not sticky dough, adding a little water if necessary.

Step 3: Divide the dough into 40 equal pieces (each will weigh about three-fourths of an ounce and will be about the size of a walnut in its shell). Roll out each one to the size of a small breakfast plate (about 5 inches in diameter), sprinkling with starch to stop the dough from sticking to the counter or pastry board. Stack 20 of the pastry sheets, sprinkling starch in between each layer. Roll out the stacked sheets at once until the dough is about 15½ inches in diameter. (You will need to place it on a large rimmed baking sheet; if you do not have one that's big enough, divide the dough into 80 equal pieces and prepare 2 smaller trays of baklava).

Step 4: Lay the combined rolled sheets of dough on the baking sheet. Sprinkle 4 cups walnuts, coarsely ground, evenly over. Roll out the next 20 sheets of dough in the same way as the first batch and place on top of the walnuts. Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava into parallel slices about 2 inches apart, then rotate the baking sheet by 45 degrees and cut again into parallel slices.

Step 5: Spoon 1 cup melted butter over the baklava. Bake until the top of the baklava is golden and crisp, 30—45 minutes. Remove and pour over the cooled syrup. Serve hot or cold.