Posted by: A Part of the Solution | November 15, 2010

Baklava Template Recipe

I really love baklava, when it’s made well. And I make it very well indeed. This is the original version as it came to me, with the spray oil and an increase in the volume of nuts the only changes.

Pistachio Baklava

For the syrup:

2 1/2 cups (17.5 oz) sugar

1 cup water

1/2 tsp salt

1 small cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp cardamom seeds

4 tsp lemon juice

3 TBSP freshly opened rose water

For assembling:

1 lb filo dough thawed in the fridge

3 oz spray oil

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 lb shelled, unsalted pistachios, chopped into irregularly shaped chunks and pieces

Melt the sugar in the water and salt, stirring down the sides until it’s all melted. Raise the temperature under your pan. Add the cinnamon stick, the cardamom seeds, and the lemon juice. Bring this to a boil. Boil eight minutes, but do not stir nor let the sugar boil over.  Take this from the heat. Add the rose water. Bring to room temperature, then chill in the fridge.

Drape a section of counter space with newspaper. Hang newspaper from the cabinets with masking tape to protect the walls and the cabinets both. Lay out some strips of plastic wrap, or reuse a plastic shopping bag by spreading it absolutely flat. Open the filo dough and lay it on the plastic. Cover the dough with an identical layer of plastic. Over this lay a barely damp tea towel. Do not let the towel touch the filo dough lest it should become soggy and tear.

Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt and pistachios together. Spray a large cookie sheet with low sides thoroughly with the spray oil. Lay a sheet of filo on the cookie pan. Trim the whole pound of filo with a pizza cutter or pair of kitchen shears so that every sheet will fit the pan easily. Spray each sheet of filo as soon as you put it in the pan. Lay down 8 sheets of filo dough.

Sprinkle a double handful of the nuts and sugar over the filo dough. Now lay a sheet of filo on the nuts, spray, add a second sheet of filo, spray, add a double handful of the nut mixture, &tc. When you run out of nuts, put four or more sheets of filo (spraying between each sheet, of course) on top. Spray the final filo sheet with oil and place the loaded cookie sheet in the freezer for ten minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°.

Have a sharp knife ready, remove the baklava from the freezer, and score (but do not cut all the way through) the filo in a diamond or rectangular, or triangular, or square pattern. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and pour the chilled syrup carefully all over the hot baklava immediately. Allow to cool completely, for three hours, before finishing cutting through the scored guides.

Store in an air-tight container with parchment or wax or brown paper in between the layers of baklava. This will still be exceptionally fresh in five days. It should be eaten within nine days.

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