Baklava always takes me back to my childhood and the Greek family friends who were our neighbors. I was blown away the first time I had a chance to try these syrupy sweet delicacies, I had never had anything like them.
It was a treat to see The Pioneer Woman prepare this delicious pastry on the Food Network. While it is a rather tedious process, the results are well worth it.
1 package Phyllo Dough
4 cups Chopped Walnuts Or Pecans
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1-1/2 stick Butter, Melted
2 cups Honey
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Sugar
3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Remove phyllo dough package from freezer and place in the fridge for 24 hours to thaw. Remove from fridge 1 hour before using.
When working with the phyllo dough, only remove the sheets you immediately need, keeping the other sheets covered in plastic wrap, then a damp cloth.
Toss together the chopped walnuts and cinnamon. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter a rectangular baking pan. Make sure the sheets of phyllo will generally fit the pan (if they're a little bigger, that's okay.) If they're much bigger, just trim them with a sharp knife.
Butter the top sheet of phyllo with melted butter, then grab it and the unbuttered sheet below it. Set the two sheets in the pan, buttered sheet face down. Press lightly into the pan. Repeat this twice more, so that you have six sheets of phyllo in the pan, three of the sheets buttered.
Sprinkle on enough walnuts to make a single layer. Butter two sheets of phyllo and place them on top of the walnuts. Add more walnuts, then two more buttered phyllo sheets. Repeat this a couple more times, or until you're out of walnuts. Top with 4 more buttered phyllo sheets, ending with a buttered top. Cut a diagonal diamond pattern in the baklava using a very sharp knife.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the baklava is very golden brown.
While the baklava is baking, combine 1 stick of the butter, honey, water, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
When you remove the baklava from the oven, drizzle half the saucepan evenly all over the top. Allow it to sit and absorb for a minute, then drizzle on a little more until you think it's thoroughly moistened.
Allow the baklava to cool, uncovered, for several hours.
Photo and recipe source: The Pioneer Woman