In my family we eat, and we eat a LOT. We love pastries, and one favorite dessert that I can’t get enough of is Baklava, a Greek pastry that is a favorite at our holiday parties. It also makes a great hostess or welcome-new-neighbor gift (I fill a decorative plate high with this yummy sweet and wrap it in colorful saran wrap to present it). If you are looking for a unique and tasty dessert treat to serve your friends and family, here is my family’s original, homemade baklava recipe!
Penelope’s Homemade Baklava Recipe
1 box phyllo dough sheets (1 lb)
1 1/2 lbs walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar (separated into 1 cup and 1/2 cup portions)
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 stick salted butter, melted
1 cup honey
2 oz orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine walnuts, one cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a large bowl and mix well.
3. Place eight sheets of phyllo (one at a time) on the bottom of a two-inch deep aluminum pan, brushing each sheet with melted butter.
4. Cover phyllo sheets generously with walnut baklava mixture, and cover with eight more sheets of phyllo pastry sheets (again brushing each sheet with butter).
5. Bake baklava in oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from heat, cut into squares or triangles, and set aside.
6. Combine 1/2 cup remaining sugar, orange juice, and water in a saucepan over low heat until boiling and simmer for 15 minutes, then add honey and let simmer five more minutes. Pour syrup over baklava and allow to cool before serving.
Baklava freezes fabulously well, so if you make lots, just wrap up the extra well (airtight) and store for up to three months (thaw in refrigerator before eating, no reheating necessary or recommended). Baklava can also be frozen before baking (simply thaw recipe completed up to baking stage, bake and complete final steps), but I’ve never done this. To me, baklava started must be completed and eaten. Your homemade Greek baklava will be better than any you will get from a bakery or restaurant, so enjoy this delicious, sweet Hellenic treat!