Baklava

Photo: J. Savage Gibson; Styling: Mary Lyn Hill

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.

Yield: about 10 dozen
Recipe from Southern Living

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Ingredients

  • 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
  • Whole cloves

Preparation

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Immediately remove from heat; cool syrup completely.
  2. Combine pecans and next 3 ingredients, stirring well.
  3. Cut phyllo sheets in half crosswise; cover with plastic wrap.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Cut layers diagonally into 3/4-inch diamonds; gently brush with remaining butter. Insert a clove in center of each diamond.
  7. Bake at 300° for 1 hour. Remove from oven, and pour syrup evenly over baklava. Cool completely in pans on wire racks.
  8. Cut again diagonally; remove from pans, and store in airtight containers at room temperature.
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