RICHMOND, Va – Herman “Big Herm” Baskerville’s baking partner Leanne Fletcher continued the Mediterranean theme when she showed us how to construct a sticky and sweet baklava! You can see more of Leanne’s sweet recipes at Big Herm’s Kitchen at 315 N 2nd St. in Richmond or at http://bighermskitchenrva.com/5175.
Sweet Leanne’s Baklava
16 oz- phyllo dough thawed by package instructions
2 ½ sticks – unsalted butter (melted) more if needed
1 lb – walnuts, finely chopped (about 4 cups)
1 tsp -ground cinnamon
1 cup – granulated sugar
2 Tbsp – lemon juice
1 Tbsp – vanilla
3/4 cup – water
1/2 cup – honey
Melted chocolate chips & chopped walnuts for garnish
Preheat oven to 325
Trim phyllo dough to fit your baking dish.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 13×9 non-stick baking pan.
Make your sauce first. This will need to cool.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, honey, lemon juice, vanilla and cup water.
Bring to a boil over med/high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then reduce heat to med/low and boil additional 4 min without stirring.
Remove from heat and let syrup cool.
In food processor pulse walnuts until coarsely ground.
In a medium bowl, stir together: 4 cups finely chopped walnuts and 1 tsp cinnamon.
Place 10 phyllo sheets into baking pan one at a time, brushing each sheet with butter.
Keep remaining phyllo covered with a damp towel at all times.
Spread about ¾ cup of nut mixture over the 10 phyllo dough sheets.
Add 5 more sheets of phyllo buttering each one, then another layer of nuts.
Repeat x 4.
Finish off with 10 layers of buttered phyllo sheets. Brush the very top with butter.
Cut pastry into 1 1/2″ wide strips, then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes.
Bake at 325˚F for 1 hour and 15 min or until tops are golden brown.
Remove from oven and immediately spoon cooled syrup.
Let baklava cool completely, uncovered and at room temp.
For best results, let baklava sit 4-6 hours or overnight at room temperature for the syrup to penetrate and soften the layers.
Garnish baklava with finely chopped nuts or drizzle with melted chocolate.