I have always wanted to make Baklava. I remember my first taste of Baklava, it was amazing – all of those layers of luscious honey and nuts – I couldn’t believe I had been missing out on this secret treat. That was about 10 years ago – and ever since then I have been thinking about how I was going to make it myself.
Fast forward 10 years – here I am, with my blog, always looking for the next challenge to post. I saw a recipe in Bon Appetit that Molly Wizenberg posted and I felt like she was writing about me. The thought of making Baklava just scared me! I had to face my fears…but not with that recipe. I needed something with cinnamon and honey – and her recipe was orange cardamom. Not my thing. But, I decided I was going to do it anyway. I bought the phyllo – and better than that – I bought pounds of pistachios. My husband and I spent an hour shelling those pistachios – and they were all ready for me. And then they sat in the pantry…for weeks. He kept asking me when I was going to make it? There was something just not right. I even took the phyllo out of the freezer all prepared to make it one day – and chickened out. Back to the freezer it went.
Then I saw it – another recipe in Bon Appetit – this one with cinnamon honey syrup – that was it – I was going to combine both recipes and come up with a winner. One that would taste ridiculous. So I did it – and it was not easy, and I had to work very quickly – so quickly, that by the time my daughter came downstairs to help me – I was practically done. The one trick I learned? Don’t worry about the phyllo staying in one piece – it’s no big deal it if breaks, you will never know!
The final result was INCREDIBLE!!!! I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders – I DID IT!!! I just wanted to shout to the world – I CAN MAKE A BAKLAVA – and it was sick. It was the most amazing dessert I have ever made. I brought it into work – and everyone loved it, I was so proud. Who ever thought that making a dessert could be so rewarding? But it was…it was the best feeling ever.
- 2 cups plus 8 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 cup water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 12 ounces shelled pistachios, toasted (scant 3 cups)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 18 14×9-inch sheets fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed (from one 16-ounce package)
Simmer 2 cups sugar, honey, water and cinnamon sticks in saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil over medium heat until reduced to approximately 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Cool syrup.
Place nuts and 2 tablespoons sugar in processor. Using on/off turns, process until most of nuts are finely ground (the largest pieces should be the size of small peas). Mix nuts, 6 tablespoons sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with some of melted butter. Place 1 phyllo sheet folded over on bottom of dish. Brush lightly with melted butter. Repeat 5 more times with phyllo and melted butter. Sprinkle half of pistachio mixture (about 1 1/2 cups) evenly over phyllo. Place 1 phyllo sheet (folded over) over nuts; brush lightly with butter. Repeat 5 more times with phyllo sheets and melted butter. Sprinkle remaining pistachio mixture evenly over. Place 1 phyllo sheet atop nuts folded in half; brush with butter. Repeat 5 more times with phyllo sheets and melted butter.
Using sharp knife, cut diagonally through top phyllo layer from top left corner to bottom right corner. Cut top layer of phyllo into 1-inch-wide rows parallel to both sides of first cut. Turn pan and cut rows about 2 1/4 inches wide, forming diamond pattern.
Bake baklava until golden brown and crisp, 50 to 55 minutes. Drizzle syrup evenly over hot baklava. Cool in pan on rack. Recut baklava along lines all the way through layers.
For a printer-friendly verison of this recipe, please click here: Pistachio Baklava with Cinnamon Honey Syrup
DO AHEAD Baklava can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.