Again, with that honey thing. Baklava has nothing to do with the Jewish tradition, but there’s something in the aching sweetness of its syrup that ensures future sweetness.
Making baklava is an unusual process. You assemble and bake relatively austere rolls of phyllo, butter, and walnuts. When you take them out of the oven, you pour a scented, sweet syrup all over the rolls and let them sit for a full 24 hours. Don't overlook that: A FULL 24 HOURS. This is good, because it means you can make the sweets long before you need them, but bad, because there's no instant gratification in baklava. Plan accordingly.
For the baklava:
- 1 package phyllo dough
- 4 cups walnuts
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ -1 cup butter, melted
For the syrup:
- 2 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 small piece lemon peels
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cloves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Chop the walnuts into small pieces. Combine with the 6 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
Put the melted butter in a bowl and bring over a cooking brush.
Unroll the phyllo dough on a board or table. Cover its entire surface with a moistened paper towel. Pick up two sheets. Lay them in front of you and brush with melted butter. Layering the sheets, repeat twice (so you have 6 sheets), being especially generous with the butter on top. Now, take 1 cup of the walnuts and spread them evenly over the pile of sheets, leave 1 inch at every edge. Fold in the vertical edges, and then loosely roll the whole thing. Set 9 x 13-inch baking pan (must have 2-3 inch sides), seam side down.
Repeat four more times with the remaining dough and walnuts.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the tops of the rolls are golden and your kitchen smells like delicious toasting nuts.
While the baklava are baking, put all the syrup ingredients into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil slowly, and then simmer for 2-3 minutes. When the baklava comes out of the oven, immediately removed the lemon peel, cinnamon stick, and cloves and pour the syrup over the baklava.
Let rest for at least 24 hours (they get even better with more soaking).
Taking a roll at a time, slice into portions about 1-inch thick. If the inside is still dry, you may want to arrange them back in the syrup to juice up.