Happy National Pistachio Day! Ok, so I missed it by about 11 days but better late than never. In belated honor of this wonderful holiday I made this baklava Sunday night to accompany a Greek meal I made with my mother and sister-in-law who came to visit along with Ben’s Grandma Betty. Having company is wonderful, and having lovely company is even better.
Baklava is an impressive looking dessert. It’s crisp sweet layers of dough encasing crunchy, salty nuts all enrobed in a honey syrup is simply irresistible. The best part is that baklava is not as hard as it seems. The phyllo dough isn’t hard to work with as long as you keep it covered with a moist towel in between removing sheets for layering.
You can use any combination of nuts in the baklava. Pistachios seem to be traditional, but I have seen recipes that use all kinds of nuts. I like the combination of pistachios and almonds here. The amount of butter you use may seem like a lot, but you need it to get all the layers to stick together properly. Give in. Use the butter, and love the butter. You know you want to.
Pistachio and Almond Baklava
Adapted from allrecipes.com
- 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
- 8 ounces chopped roasted almonds
- 6 ounces chopped roasted pistachios
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup honey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.
- Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon and cardamom. Set aside.
- Unroll phyllo dough. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work.
- Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of nut mixture on top.
- Top with two sheets of dough, brush with butter, then layer with nuts after you have 6 layers of phyllo. The top layer should be about 6 – 8 sheets deep.
- Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan.
- Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
- Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool.