sketch of Bob above the Baklava recipe.


Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter the bottom and sides of a (9x13 inch) baking pan. Finely chop or coarsely grind 3 c. chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and/or pecans, toasted. Stir together in a small bowl 1/4 c. sugar, 1 t. grated lemon zest and 1/2 t. ground cinnamon. Melt 1/2 lb. unsalted butter. Stack flat on a work surface 1 lb. phyllo dough. Trim the phyllo into (9x13 inch) sheets, saving the scraps for another use. Cover the stack with plastic wrap and a damp towel. Place 2 phyllo sheets in the baking pan and brush the top sheet evenly with the melted butter. Add 2 more sheets and brush with the butter, then repeat once more for a total of 6 sheets. Sprinkle with half of the nuts and then half of the sugar mixture. Cover the filling with 2 phyllo sheets, butter the top sheet, and repeat until there are 6 sheets on top of the filing. Cover with the remaining nuts and sugar mixture. Cover with all of the remaining phyllo sheets, adding them 2 at a time and buttering only the second sheet each time. Brush the top with the remaining butter. Using a sharp serrated knife so that the pastry will not be crushed, cut through all of the layers to make 2-inch diamonds or squares. This is important because you will not be able to cut the baklava once it is baked without crushing the pastry; it also allows the syrup to soak in and around each piece. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°. Continue to bake until the baklava is golden brown, 45-60 minutes. During the last 30 minutes of baking, combine in a saucepan:
1 1/3 c. sugar,1 1/3 c. water, 1/3 c. honey, 1 T. fresh lemon juice and zest of 1 orange, removed in large strips. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Strain the hot syrup and pour evenly over the baked baklava. Let cool completely, at least 4 hours, at room temperature before serving.

Baklava recipe is published in our March, 2000 Menu Minder.