There is a Greek Festival held every summer in Columbus, Ohio, where we got our first taste of yummy Baklava. We liked it so much, that when this recipe appeared in Taste of Home Magazine in 2001, I gave it a try and haven't stopped making it since! Whenever I make this delicious, savory dessert laden with honey, someone always asks for the recipe.
From Taste of Home Magazine April/May 2001, submitted by Judy Losecco, Buffalo
1 ½ pounds finely chopped walnuts
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 packages (16 oz. each) phyllo dough
1 pound butter (no substitutes) melted, divided
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup honey
1 tablespoon grated lemon or orange peel
In a bowl, combine walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cloves; set aside. Brush a 15in. x 10in. x 1in. baking pan with some of the butter. Unroll each package of phyllo sheets; trim each stack to fit into pan. Cover dough with plastic wrap and a damp cloth while assembling.
Place one sheet of phyllo into pan; brush with butter. Repeat 14 times. Spread with 2 cups walnut mixture. Layer with five sheets of phyllo, brushing with butter between each. Spread with remaining walnut mixture. Top with one sheet of phyllo; brush with butter. Repeat 14 times. Cut into 2-1/2 in. squares; cut each square in half diagonally. Brush remaining butter over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the syrup ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and discard peel; cool to lukewarm. Pour syrup over warm baklava.
Notes: I like to use pecans or a mix of pecans and walnuts. I also use extra pecans to make a third layer of nuts. This recipe is still good if you do not have lemon or orange to add. I usually have dough leftover, so you might get by with one pack of phyllo dough, depending on the size pan you use. Baklava makes a nice gift and can be used for Christmas cookie trays. Enjoy!