Baklava is one of those desserts that you will never forget once you try it. It can be best described as the dessert answer to the Croissant. It’s native to the remains of the Ottoman Empire (for example Turkey or the Middle East), and is also very popular in parts of Asia. Baklava is a technical dish, but only requires a small number of ingredients. It’s also well worth the effort. A good baklava is layered with flavour and fit for a king. In fact, it is believed to have been developed in the Imperial palace kitchens in Turkey centuries ago for that very purpose. Now, Baklava is found all around the world in ethnic shops, but nothing beats a good quality fresh batch. But beware, it is highly addictive, and as with all desserts, rather gluttonous.
1 lb. (450g) Phyllo dough
4 cups (500 grams) walnuts, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup (120 grams) sugar
5 Cloves, ground
1 Cinnamon Stick, ground
1/2 lb. (225g) Sweet Butter
1 1/4 cups (300ml) of water
1 1/2 cups (350g) sugar
2 teaspoons (10ml) lemon juice
1 Vanilla Bean
Combine Walnuts, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and sugar. Melt butter in a saucepan. Use a pastry brush to brush inside of a 14 X 10.5 inch pan with melted butter. Line bottom of pan with one piece of Phyllo dough. Fold under excess Phyllo. Alternate sides with each piece of Phyllo, brushing the top of each layer with melted butter. Repeat 5 times, making 5 layers. On the 6th sheet, sprinkle evenly with nut mixture. Continue until all nut mixture is used and last 6 buttered sheets of Phyllo form top crust. Use a sharp knife to cut into diamond shapes. Bake at 300 °F (150 °C) for about 1.5 hours or until lightly brown.
Combine syrup ingredients. Boil syrup for about 10 minutes and then allow to cool. Pour over the finished Baklava.
Slice into 3 inch x 1 inch pieces and enjoy!