It dawned on me this morning that I never got the baklavah pictures up here. That's because I have too much to do. But since I'm a glutton for punishment, I don't buy those rolls of ready-made cookie dough. No pre-made pie crusts for this family, oh no. I have to make the most involved, most labor-intensive desserts I can think of. Hence the baklavah.
I was taught to make this by a real-live, authentic Greek guy. No kidding, his parents moved here from Cyprus. Their names are Kiriakos and Yanula (Kirk and Joann to us Americans).
So here it is, in all its glory.
Start by buttering the 13x9 pan. Lay a sheet of phyllo in the pan and brush lightly with melted butter. Sprinkle with about a teaspoon or so of plain bread crumbs. Do it again. And again. And again. And again. One more time. You should have six layers of phyllo with butter and bread crumbs in between. (note: keep a damp towel over the phyllo you're not working with - it dries out in seconds.)
Grind 1 1/2 pounds walnuts and mix with a little sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. I would tell you exactly how much, but I have misplaced my recipe. My life is just a tad overwhelming right now, and frankly, you're lucky to be getting pictures at this point. If you really want the amounts, e-mail me and I'll search harder.
On top of the six layers of phyllo, spread a layer of walnut mixture thick enough so you can't see the phyllo.
Now repeat that process as many times as you need to to get to the top of the dish. I used one full box of phyllo, about 2 sticks of butter (PLEASE don't use margarine. Gag.), and all the nut mixture. You should have six layers of phyllo brushed with butter on top.
Put the whole thing in the refrigerator to harden the butter - about 20-30 minutes.
Carefully cut in a diamond pattern:
Then stick a whole clove in each diamond:
Bake at whatever the temp is for however long it says to. Yeah, sorry, I still can't find the recipe.
While it's baking, make a syrup of 1 C water, 1 C sugar, 1 C corn syrup, a teaspoon of honey, a few strips of orange peel, a couple of cloves, and I think that might be all.
When the baklavah is golden brown, take it out and immediately pour the syrup over it all, getting it in all the cuts. You want it to seep down in there.
Let it cool before you try to dish it up or it will slide apart and make a huge mess. And then you'll have to eat it with a fork which takes much too long.
Hide it from Mike.
Be thankful ~