This baklava recipe is from one of my Italian grandma's Greek-lady-friends. Although baklava is not one of our traditional Italian dessert recipes - it does cross over in our culture a bit since it's a tradition Greek/Turkish dessert.
Baklava's flavor from cloves and cinnamon and ONE pound of butter! The after effect of the lemon-honey syrup is what gives it the "glue" that holds the flavors together!
You will need a couple of things other than the standard stuff you need in Italian cookies recipes:
Don't plan on making this in a hurry. It is time consuming. But then again, you won't be bringing a standard dessert to the party like every one else either! (Take that all you WalMart-cookie-bringers!)
There's not much room for substituting. This is a traditional recipe. But there are a few hints and tips below.
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YIELD: One Pan (depends how large or small you cut them)
* 3 cups of walnuts (Yes, T-H-R-E-E)
* 1 box of zwieback crackers
* 4 Tablespoons of sugar
* 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon of cloves
* 1 pound of butter
Lemon Honey Syrup
* 1 Cup of sugar
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 lemon sliced
* 2 tablespoons honey
* In a large bowl, mix walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and zwieback back crumbs
* Butter a baking pan lightly (like a jelly roll pan)
* Butter 5 sheets of phyllo and place them in the bottom of the pan
* Sprinkle with the nut filling mixture
* Over this, place 2 more buttered phyllo
* Continue until all of the nut mixture is used
* Butter 5 remaining 5 phyllo sheets placing them over the top
* Cool in the refrigerator so it will slice better
* Preheat your oven to 325 while you are cooling
* Remove from the 'fridge after they are cooled and slice in diamond shapes
* Bake in 325 degrees for about 30 minutes or until they are golden
* While the baklava is baking prepare the honey syrup by combining all the lemon honey syrup ingredients in a sauce pan and boiling gently for 15 minutes
* Add the honey at the end of the 15 minutes
* Remove the baklava from the oven (after it's golden) and pour the honey syrup in the crevices (while it's hot!)
* Don't pour the syrup on the top or you sog out your baklava.
Can I substitute anything?
No. A baklava recipe is very traditional. So no. You don't want to omit anything either.
How long do I keep layering?
Until your package of phyllo is used up. Just remember to keep 5 sheets for that last layer.
What are "zwieback" crackers?
Basically they are a sweet cracker thats is baked twice. (Somewhat like an Italian biscotti recipe) Nabisco used to make them in logs and we would give them to our kids to teeth on. As for baking they are ground up in to crumbs - much like graham cracker crumbs.
Back to the top of the baklava recipe.
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Labor Day Is Coming Up!
It's still so hot, it's hard to get excited about cranking up the over. So - there are a couple of NO BAKE stand-by's I use:
Strawberry and Marsala
Amaretto Mouse Cheesecake
The big word is NO BAKE.
And then, there's always my Italian Drinks collection to make a party unique and festive.
Whatever you choose for Labor Day, keep it cool. Keep it simple. And keep it safe!
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Recipes on this site are from family cookbooks, family traditions, or intentional adaptations from traditional recipes to add an Italian flair. If a recipe was adapted or used from another cook - it is mentioned on the recipe page and the recipe author is given credit.