Baklava is one of those things we have always enjoyed, but had never made at home. We always thought it was way too complicated to attempt, and left it to the professionals (in this case by “professionals,” we mean any Greek Grandmother).

After a little research, we found out that the secret to Baklava is that it isn’t hard to make at all! It just takes having all of your ingredients prepared and ready to assemble, and of course extra time on your hands. If you have a helper in the kitchen, all the better. Since it’s the two of us, it was astonishingly easy to make… and dare we say better than most we have had elsewhere!

Creative Clue

In our version of this classic dish we used clover honey and all of our favorite spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom … mmmh cardamom. As long as you hit the perfect balance we bet you can add a few more, and throw the party of the century for your taste buds.

Next time we are going to try making it with olive oil; this is more traditional and slightly less artery-clogging.

Spiced Baklava
 
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces of unsalted walnuts
  • 8 ounces of unsalted almonds
  • 8 ounces of salted pistachios
  • 2 whole vanilla beans, scraped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • 1 pound of Phyllo dough
  • 2¾ sticks butter
  • Honey Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup:
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
Instructions
  1. Thaw Phyllo dough according to directions on package, then unroll. Once thawed, cover with a slightly damp towel to keep from drying out and breaking.
  2. Combine nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Once chopped, add nuts to a large bowl and combine with brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla bean, thoroughly mix.
  3. Melt butter in a sauce pan or in a microwave safe bowl.
  4. Using a pastry brush, brush an entire 9x13 pan with melted butter. Layer 8 sheets of Phyllo dough – brush each one with melted butter – in the baking dish. After layer 8, spread ¼ of the nut mixture evenly over the dough.*
  5. After the first layer of nuts, layer 4 sheets of Phyllo on top – brush each one with melted butter. Repeat this 3 more times: 1 layer of nuts, 4 sheets of Phyllo, 1 layer of nuts, 4 sheets of Phyllo, then a fourth layer of nuts.
  6. After the fourth layer of nuts, add 8 sheets of Phyllo for the top – brushing each with melted butter. If there is any butter left, pour it over top.
  7. Put the whole pan in the fridge and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove baklava from fridge and using a sharp knife, cut as desired. After cutting, place pan in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.**
  9. Once in the oven make the syrup.
  10. To make syrup: Combine all ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely, remove cinnamon stick.
  11. While the baklava is hot, evenly pour the syrup over top. Let set overnight, covered with aluminum foil once cool. If you can't wait that long... no one will notice a corner piece missing.
Notes
*Be very patient and gentle with the dough, and if it begins to rip, just try to push it into place.
**If the top of the baklava gets to brown, tent it with aluminum foil.

Cutting tips: We first cut equal squares and then cut horizontally. This made beautiful triangles.

Substitutions: 1 tablespoon of Vanilla Bean Paste = 1 Vanilla Bean