So, I am going to begin this post with a disclaimer. Actually more of a qualification. To me there is a necessary distinction that is, upon occasion, important to make. There is sometimes a difference between homemade and made from scratch. I realize this may seem like splitting hairs but for today’s recipe I felt it important to note.
Because I made baklava, y’all!
Now if I said I made it from scratch that would imply I had made everything from scratch…including the filo dough. But, while I did use store bought filo dough sheets, I did actually make the baklava. And can I say that never have I made such a nerve racking dessert in my life? Seriously, it’s not that baklava is necessarily that difficult to make but oh, my goodness I have never been so tense while baking anything ever! Those paper thin sheets are tedious to use but the result was a big hit at our teacher luncheon and worth every moment. Our kids’ school has some amazing teachers and I was really happy to do something out of the norm in appreciation for all they do.
Baklava is an impressive looking dessert and while not really complicated it is time consuming. All those layers! This is the original recipe I used although I did not make mine as thick as hers. She used a 9×13 dish and I layered mine in a jelly roll pan. I liked it better because I did not need to cut the filo dough to fit the pan but in hindsight I probably would have used less syrup so that it was not quite as wet although hers look pretty moist in her pictures too.
What you’ll need for the syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4/5 cup honey
What you’ll do:
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil.
Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely before using.
(Trust me, it will have plenty of time to cool while you butter and layer your filo sheets with your chocolate mixture!)
What you’ll need for the baklava itself:
1 package filo dough sheets
1 stick of butter, melted (I actually used almost two sticks)
9 ounces dark chocolate chips
9 ounces pistachios or nuts of your choice, finely chopped
1 TBS cinnamon
What you’ll do:
Toss together the chocolate chips, nuts, and cinnamon.
Unwrap your filo sheets and cover them with a damp towel. This is a very important step so don’t skip it, it makes the filo sheets easier to work with.
Butter your pan.
Next, butter and stack eight dough sheets.
(Remember, I was using a larger pan so essentially I was making two stacks side by side.)
Spread half of the nut mixture over the stacked sheets.
Butter the next sheet of dough on both sides and then continue buttering and stacking three more sheets.
Top with the remaining nut mixture.
Butter the next sheet of dough, again on both sides, and then continue buttering and stacking seven more sheets.
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into squares.
Because I wanted a more traditional look I then cut each square diagonally so I had a bunch of triangles.
At this point I got really excited because it pretty much looked like baklava…yay me!
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, uncovered.
Cover with aluminum foil and continue to bake for another 25 minutes.
Immediately pour the cold syrup over the whole pan and allow it to cool.
I loosely covered mine and let it sit all night.
It was, like I said, one of the most intense things I have ever made but I have got to be honest I was beyond thrilled and feeling so very accomplished when it all came together and tasted good!