Greek baklava cut in diamonds, baked in pan
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Greek Baklava

Classic baklava recipe, the traditional Greek pastry made with ground nuts, layers of phyllo and drizzled with honey syrup. 
Course Dessert, Pastry
Cuisine Greek
Keyword baklava, Greek baklava, classic baklava recipe
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 36
Author Kelly Wildenhaus

Ingredients

Simple Syrup

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 ounces honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Filling

  • pounds walnuts, toasted or pecans, almonds or pistachios
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pound package of phyllo dough thawed
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, melted
  • Whole cloves

Instructions

Simple Syrup:

  • Over low heat, bring sugar, water and cinnamon sticks to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved and liquid turns clear.
  • Boil for 15 minutes and as soon as you see bubbles, stir constantly.  The color will change to a cinnamon-brownish as it cooks.
  • Remove from heat and remove two cinnamon sticks.  Stir in honey and lemon juice and a few lemon slices, seeds removed.  Set pot aside to cool completely.

Filling:

  • In food processor, coarsely grind nuts (about 10 pulses). Put in bowl and toss with sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves, set aside.

Layer:

  • Butter bottom and sides of 9" by 13" pan.  Preheat oven to 375º
  • Unroll phyllo dough and if necessary, cut to fit pan.  Cover dough with damp towel while working to keep it from drying out.  Layer bottom with 6 sheets of phyllo, buttering each sheet.  Spread ⅓ of nut mixture (about 2 cups) evenly over layered phyllo.  Top nut mixture with 3 more buttered layers of phyllo.
  • Repeat 2 more times with nuts and phyllo, for a total of 3 alternating layers.  Use 7-8 sheets of phyllo for the top layer.  Pre-cut into diamond-shape but don't cut all the way through to bottom layer, just a deep score.
  • Place one clove in center of each piece of baklava.  Lightly sprinkle pan of baklava with cold water.  Bake at 375º for 30 minutes and then turn down heat to 350º and bake another 30 minutes until evenly golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and let stand for two minutes.  Pour/spoon cooled syrup over hot baklava.  Let cool completely and enjoy!

Notes

  • I like to toast the the nuts first in the oven, then cool and coarsely grind.
  • Always pour cool syrup over hot baklava for the best results, it's the proper technique for that flaky crispiness!
  • I did not use all the simple syrup, most, but not all.
  • Remove whole cloves before serving/eating.
 
Here's a recap of the baklava layers:
6 layers buttered phyllo, ⅓ nut mixture
3 layers buttered phyllo, ⅓ nut mixture
3 layers buttered phyllo, ⅓ nut mixture
7-8 layers buttered phyllo, cut into diamonds