Before our friend, Issa, relocate to Dubai, he used to be the authority on middle eastern cuisine to my family and he would make us the best Baklava. Now that Issa is not here to supply us with Baklava, i have to make it myself. There are so many versions and recipes and i decided to try this recipe from Athensfoods.com - Courtesy of Chef Dino Lubbat, Dinotto Ristorante, Chicago. This recipe produced a very good baklava and definitely a keeper.
1 1/2 pounds walnuts, chopped (i used an assortment of pistachio, walnuts and almonds)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Zest of 1 lemon
40 sheets Athens® Fillo Dough (9" x 14"), thawed
Cooking Spray (i used 1 cup of melted butter)
In a medium bowl, combine walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and lemon zest.
Lightly spray a 9" x 13" baking pan with cooking spray.
Place 20 sheets of fillo on the bottom of the pan, lightly spraying each sheet with cooking spray as you place in the pan.
Cover with 1/2 of the walnut(nuts) mixture.
Layer 5 more fillo sheets on top, lightly spraying each sheet.
Spread the remaining half of the walnut(nuts) mixture over the fillo and cover with another 15 lightly sprayed fillo sheets.
With a sharp knife, score fillo into 1 1/2" diamonds or squares. Lightly spray the top with cooking spray so it bakes golden brown.(i sprinkle very lightly with water to prevent curling)
Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown.
Cool slightly and pour warm syrup (recipe below) evenly over baklava. (i mix 1 cup honey, 2 cups corn syrup and 1 tbsp orange blossom water and pour over the baklava as soon as it comes out of the oven)
Cool completely, cut and serve.
•Use butter flavored cooking spray, if desired.
•Instead of cooking spray, brush fillo with 1 cup melted butter, if desired.
•Serve à la mode with a scoop of ice cream, or drizzle with chocolate sauce.
Yield: 30 to 40 small pieces
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup honey
1 lemon peel
Bring all ingredients to a boil.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Strain and cool slightly.