I love a rich and fulfilling cooking process and usually don’t mind taking my time. But, authentic baklava is one of the most labor-intensive desserts as proven during my trip to Turkey. I got a hands-on cooking lesson in homemade baklava, and it’s an insanely beautiful and lengthy process. Yufka dough, similar to the store-bought phyllo we get here, comprises the layers, and each baklava has 100 of them. Yes, 100 sheets are rolled out to create this delicious dessert.
Typically, baklava recipes require painting each sheet of pastry with butter before placing the next layer on top, which is more than tricky with the thin phyllo. But these ladies didn’t do that – they cut the layered pastry dough into little squares and then poured the butter all over…genius!
I decided to adopt this method using store-bought phyllo, and the result is the fastest baklava ever. Layer phyllo and chopped nuts, cut carefully, cover with clarified butter, bake, douse in syrup. That’s it! This syrup is simple, incredibly delicious and with my personal twist of vanilla bean. Baklava is undoubtedly sweet, but I think this one hits just the right amount of sweetness with lovely honey, vanilla, and cinnamon undertones. I make mine into bite-sized little squares so as not to overindulge…It’s fantastic to do ahead as the flavor gets better, and it keeps for about 5 days at room temperature. Enjoy!