This recipe is adapted from my great grandmother's Baklava. My Mother and Aunt have now taken over the reigns of making this at each of our family parties, and it is a staple at our holiday functions. I've added cinnamon and vanilla to their version. I love to give this away at the holidays as a special treat! Enjoy! —KateSmith
12x18 baking dish
Filo Dough Sheets (bought in 1lb packages)
Make the Simple Syrup first so it has time to cool. Dissolve 2 cups of sugar into one cup of water over medium heat. Add vanilla and bring to a bubble. Cook for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
Next start on the nut mixture for the Baklava and Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse together the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
Open the fillo dough and carefully unroll and divide into 2 (half will be used for the bottom and half for the top)
Note- Quickly work with the dough as it will dry out if left in the air too long.
Brush the bottom of the pan with the clarified butter and place one sheet of dough on top. Brush the top of the dough with a very thin layer of butter. Continue layering one sheet at a time and brushing each sheet with butter until you've used half of the dough.
Pour the nut mixture over the bottom half and spread evenly. Repeat layers of fillo and butter on the top as well until you've used all the dough. End with butter on top.
Cut deep diagonal lines down and across the surface of the pastry to form diamond shaped peices.
Bake in 350 oven for 45 minutes. Then raise the heat to 425 and keep baking another 5-10 minutes until golden on top.
Remove from oven , and pour the cooled simple syrup over the Baklava while still hot. Once cooled, place in cupcake papers, serve and enjoy!
***Note- This recipe is delicious adapted many different ways. Substituting pecans,pistachios or other nuts for the walnuts makes for a delicious alternative! Also, feel free to play around with the flavors in the simple syrup. Lemon Juice or Rose Water add an extra kick of flavor.