Baklava Recipe with Leyla Topal

BAKLAVA (Sweet pastry dessert with chopped nuts, cinnamon and syrup)
Ingredients for the syrup
2 cups water
2 2/3 cups sugar
6 cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
1 quarter lemon and its juice
1 stick cinnamon

Ingredients for layering the phyllo dough
1 roll phyllo dough (I usually use Athens brand and there are two separate rolls in one package)  
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 cups walnuts chopped
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp extra butter to butter the baklava pan

We will first prepare the syrup because it needs to be cold or at least at room temperature when we pour it over the hot baklava right from the oven.

Mix water and sugar in sauce pan. Then place the pan on the stove on medium heat and stir it occasionally. When it starts boiling boil it for about 5 minutes. Squeeze the lemon and throw the lemon slice into the pot and add the cloves and cinnamon stick. Turn the stove off and remove the pan to the side so that it cools off by the time baklava comes out of oven.

Thaw the phyllo dough according to the instructions on the package.
Mix the chopped walnuts and cinnamon in a bowl. Set it aside.
Put the butter in pan and melt it on very low heat (Make sure it doesn’t turn brown at all.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Unroll phyllo dough. Place a sheet of dough in the pan and brush it with melted butter. Repeat the procedure until you have 5 sheets layered. Then sprinkle 3 tbsp of nut-cinnamon mixture. Continue layering and sprinkling walnuts in every 5-6 sheets. Meanwhile cover phyllo with a dampened kitchen towel to keep it from drying out as you work and also keep warming up the melted butter once in a while if it starts thickening. The top layer should also be about 5-6 sheets thick.  

Cut your baklava into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan by using a sharp knife. Then strain your butter to get rid of the white foams in it and then pour the left-over melted butter over baklava and place the pan in the oven. Bake for about 25 -30 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.

Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon syrup over it. Let it cool before serving. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

Leyla Topal


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