This dessert, pronounced BAHK-lah-vah, has a delicate flavor and texture, and makes a wonderful gift. It also freezes well when stored in an airtight container.
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon
12 cups finely chopped pecans (3 pounds, shelled)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (16-ounce) package frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1 pound unsalted butter, melted
How to Make It
Combine first 6 ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Immediately remove from heat; cool syrup completely.
Combine pecans and next 3 ingredients, stirring well.
Cut phyllo sheets in half crosswise; cover with plastic wrap.
Brush 2 (13- x 9- x 2-inch) baking pans with melted butter. Place 8 phyllo sheets in 1 pan, brushing each sheet with butter; top with 2 cups pecan mixture.
Place 3 phyllo sheets over pecan mixture, brushing each sheet with butter; top with 2 cups pecan mixture. Repeat with 3 more phyllo sheets and 2 cups pecan mixture; top with 6 phyllo sheets, brushing all but the top sheet with butter. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo sheets, butter, and pecan mixture in second pan.
Cut layers diagonally into 3/4-inch diamonds; gently brush with remaining butter. Insert a clove in center of each diamond.
Bake at 300° for 1 hour. Remove from oven, and pour syrup evenly over baklava. Cool completely in pans on wire racks.
Cut again diagonally; remove from pans, and store in airtight containers at room temperature.