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Poetic Baklava

(recipe, Diana Abu-Jaber)


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Introduction

For when you need to serenade someone.

Ingredients

    Syrup
    1. 2 cups sugar
    2. 1 cup water
    3. Splash of lemon juice
    4. 1 tsp. orange-blossom water
    Baklava
    1. 1 lb. walnuts
    2. 1 cup sugar
    3. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    4. 1 box phyllo dough, defrosted
    5. 1 lb. butter, clarified (melted and with the top layer skimmed off)

    Steps

    1. In a saucepan, boil the syrup ingredients until the mixture turns clear. Cover the syrup and set aside in the refrigerator to cool.
    2. In a food processor, grind together the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon to a fine, sandy consistency. Set aside.
    3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Carefully unfold the phyllo dough, making sure not to crack or tear it. Keep it covered with a piece of waxed paper to help prevent it from drying out.
    4. Butter the bottom of a shallow baking pan. (You can also use a cookie sheet that has at least an inch-high lip.) Carefully unpeel the first sheet of phyllo and lay it flat and smooth in the bottom of the pan. Brush with the clarified butter.
    5. Continue layering sheets of phyllo dough and brushing each sheet with butter until you've used half the dough. Spread the nuts-and-sugar mixture over the dough. Place another sheet of dough on the mixture and butter it. Continue layering and buttering dough until you've used up the rest.
    6. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut through the baklava in long, straight lines to form diamonds or squares about 2 inches long. Bake for about 50 minutes or until golden-brown. Pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava. Serve hot, warm, or cool.