I remember thinking to myself how the next holiday weekend after Memorial's day seem a bit far off and now the weekend itself is upon us! I am looking forward to the next few nights of watching fireworks, seeing friends from afar, family from nearby, and plenty of delicious food to be going around. We also plan on making a drive to explore Stillwater and I really hope those plans don't get sidetracked. I've been wanting to get out and see that area for some time now. I almost fear that 3 days won't be enough to take in all the festivities, I guess we will know come Monday.
I don't ever remember actually liking baklava. I tried it a few times over the years and every time it was the same impression - a sticky sweet syrup covering some bland dough filled with soggy nuts. A few months back, while grabbing some lunch at one of my favorite spots serving mediterranean cuisine, I noticed their baklava on display and ordered it. Tasting fresh and crisp, the layers of dough crackled with every bite. A tad too sweet for me, it was still enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and later had me coming back for more.
I am pretty excited to share this recipe because it just so happens that shortly after I fell in love with baklava, I stumbled across a recipe containing a genius secret addition: graham crackers. I was hooked at first bite and there is no way I could be interested in any other baklava ever again. Because most baklavas can be cloyingly sweet, I tweaked the discovered recipe up a bit and am quite happy with the results. Pretty simple to make, this is a completely satisfying treat to eat.
Makes one 13x9 pan.
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 oz shelled pistachios
- 12 oz whole walnuts
- 8 oz whole almonds
- 1 cup crushed graham crackers
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 lb phyllo dough, thawed
- 1 lb clarified butter (make your own)
- In a small saucepan combine the ingredients for the syrup, bring to a simmer and allow to cook for about 10-12 minutes until liquid reaches a syrupy consistency. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Place pistachios, walnuts and almonds into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Be careful not to let it process for too long otherwise you will end up with a nut butter.
- Transfer to a medium bowl and combine with crushed crackers, sugar and spices. Mix well until evenly combined.
- Remove thawed phyllo dough from the packaging and lay it on a flat surface. Keep cover with a damp, clean, kitchen towel to prevent drying.. Brush a 13x9 inch baking pan (metal or glass) with the clarified butter.
- Start by laying down the first sheet of dough and lightly brushing (or drizzling) with butter and cover with the next sheet of dough. Continue laying down dough and brushing with butter in between until you have 10 layers.
- Spread 1 cup of the nut mixture onto the layered dough evenly. Cover with 5 sheets of dough, brushing with butter in-between each layer.
- Add a cup of the nut mixture again followed by 5 layers of dough brushed with butter. Continue to repeat this pattern until you have used up all of the nut mixture (about 7-8 times total).
- When you reach your final cup of nut mixture, cover with 10 sheets of dough (brushing with butter in between) and using the palm of your hands, gently compress the dough to make sure any air bubbles get out. Generously brush the very last layer of dough with butter as well.
- Wrap the pan of baklava tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for up to an hour, or until the butter has solidified.
- Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Remove the chilled baklava from the fridge, unwrap, and slice into diamonds or squares. Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden. Once baked, remove from the oven and pour cooled syrup over the cut lines. Cool for at least 3 hours, cover with foil and let stand for an additional 8 hours (or overnight) before serving. This allows for the flavor and texture to improve and is highly recommended.
*adapted from food52.com