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Baklava - Turkish Nut Pastries in Syrup

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME:
YIELD:

  • PREPARATION TIME: 30 minutes
    COOKING TIME: 45 minutes
    BAKLAVA SOAKING TIME: overnight, or at least 2 hours
    YIELD: about 18 large pieces
    450 g (1 pound ) filo pastry (about 30 sheets)
    250 g (9 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
    250 g (9 ounces) finely chopped walnuts (or almonds, pistacios, or a combination)
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) cinnamon powder
    1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar
    Syrup
    11/4 cups (310 ml) sugar
    1 cups (250 ml) water
    2 tablespoons (40 ml) lemon juice
    1/4 cup (60 ml) honey
    1 tablespoon (20 ml) orange-blossom water (available at Middle Eastern grocers)
    1. Butter a 28 cm x 18 cm (11-inch x 7-inch) tin. If necessary, cut the pastry the size of the tin. Place one sheet of pastry on the bottom of the tin and butter it with a pastry brush. Repeat for 1/2 the pastry (about 15 sheets).
    2. Combine the nuts, cinnamon, and sugar and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top layer of buttered filo pastry. Continue layering the remaining pastry on top of the nut mixture, again brushing each layer of pastry with melted butter.
    3. After the final layer of pastry is placed on top, brush it with butter. Carefully cut the tray of pastry into diagonal diamond shapes with a sharp knife, cutting directly to the base. Bake in a moderate oven 180°C/355°F for about 45 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden.
    4. While the pastry is baking, combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a pan, stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar, and then boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the honey, stir to dissolve, and add the orange-blossom water. Pour the hot syrup over the cooked baklava. Let set for at least 2 hours, or for best results leave overnight for the syrup to be fully absorbed.

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