November 17th is officially National Baklava Day!
So, Happy Baklava Day!
Some people think that baklava came from a variation of strudel. But not so, say Greeks! The Greeks say baklava has been around for centuries and was developed by the Greeks. For those of you not familiar with this sweet treat, it is a Mediterranean pastry of many light, sweet layers of phyllo dough with a main layer of walnuts and cinnamon. But, there is no need to travel to Greece...you can make your own!
Look at that! Don't let phyllo dough scare you! It is the main ingredient to making baklava and you'd be surprised at just how easy it is.
Gather the following:
1 lb phyllo dough (1 box)
3 cups chopped walnuts
2 cups melted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups syrup
**To make the syrup you will need 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water and 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Mix the sugar and water together in a pot. Bring to a boil. Add the lemon juice, stir and let simmer for 7 minutes. Let cool.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix nuts, sugar, spices and 1 Tbsp melted butter. Set aside. Grease a 9 x 13 baking sheet. Melt the butter. Place 2 layers of dough on the baking sheet and brush lightly with butter. Continue this process until half the dough has been layered. Spread the nut mixture evenly over the dough. Lay the rest of the dough, following the same procedure. Do not grease last layer. With a sharp knife, cut the stacked dough into diamond shapes. Pour the remaining melted butter of the top. Place in the oven and then reduce the temp to 275 degrees. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until lightly browned on top. Cool ten minutes and then pour the cold syrup evenly over the surface.
I have to tell you. When we first moved into our current home, we had some issues with our mailman. Our mailbox is at the street and the mailman drives a truck up to it to deliver the mail. Now, our mailman didn't seem to like us. Who knows why. We are nice people! Maybe because once the handle fell off the mailbox and just a screw was sticking out. He made sure to let us know that it cut his hand. No sooner did we fix that problem, our mailman informed us that he was stung by the wasps that had made a nest in our mailbox...then there were the ants. I kid you not, it went on and on with complaints! So around Christmas time, I was baking some baklava and decided to give our mailman a plate full of the sweet treat. Ok, I didn't decide...my husband thought it would be a nice gesture. A complete 360 degree turn in our postal relationship! Our mailman was our newest best friend...brought mail to the door and waved from his truck! Who knew the power of this baklava recipe.
I hope you get a chance to try it and see just how good it is.
Celebrate the little things that make life sweet!