Our friends had invited us to a pie party today, but we were unable to attend. I wasn't going to be able to make a pie because of lack of ingredients and had planned on making baklava instead. Once I got the idea in my head, I couldn't get it out. Thus, we still had baklava tonight...minus a good party. After all it is Sunday Baking Day.I have "The Easiest Baklava Recipe Ever" from Sondos, a good friend of mine, and then I looked up this recipe (I love allrecipes). I decided that I would meld the two together. Really, with these ingredients you can't go wrong.
1 (16 ounce) box phyllo dough
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 lbs chopped walnuts
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cup water
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1. Remove phyllo dough from freezer and allow to thaw completely - this takes 2 hours (you can find this in the freezer section of the grocery store, often by the Pillsbury pop rolls).
2. Preheat oven to 350. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 dish.
3. Begin with the simple syrup (it will need to cool completely). Boil sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla, honey, and lemon juice. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often. The syrup will thicken. Let cool.
4. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside.
5. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl or on the stovetop.
6. Begin layering the phyllo dough by placing about 5 sheets on the bottom of the pan. Lightly brush with butter (don't drench) and spread walnuts on top. Place another 5 sheets sheets and repeat the process until you reach the last 5 sheets. I don't actually count the sheets, just eyeball it. You should have 1/2 cup butter left over at the end. I probably did about 6-7 layers (I forgot to count).
7. Cut the baklava into squares, all the way through to the bottom, and pour the remaining butter evenly over the top.
8. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes and at 275 for 25 more minutes.
9. Remove baklava from the oven and immediately pour the syrup evenly over the top. Let cool.
This tastes better if you let it stand for a couple of hours. The traditional way to make this is to butter at least every 2 phyllo sheets. Really though, it always tastes good. The butter and syrup just melt through it all and make it delicious any way you want to make it. I moaned every bite I took it was so good.