One of my mom’s favourite treats is Baklava. We’re going to do Baklava two ways today, because I have two great ways to make it. One is my favourite way and the way I first learned how to make it, and the other way is my aunt’s way. My Tita Fely always cooks for huge crowds. I would say that she is probably the best cook in my mom’s family. When it comes to cooking traditional Filipino dishes, I learned from my Tita Fely and from my grandparents. Tita Fely doesn’t only cook Filipino food though. She is known for her Green Mango Salad and Baklava (among many other delicious foods). Tita Fely has a simplified Baklava for a crowd recipe, and my mom keeps asking me to make it for her.
Baklava Two Ways
- 1 (16 oz) package phyllo dough
- 1 lb chopped walnuts or almonds
- 1 cup melted butter
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 cardamom pods (outer part removed and inner parts crushed finely with mortar and pestle)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup local honey
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- crushed pistachios to garnish
- In food processor, chop nuts and toss with cinnamon and cardamom. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9×13 inch pan.
- Unroll phyllo sheets and cut to fit the baking dish. Make sure to cover the phyllo sheets with a damp cloth to prevent the sheets from drying. Place two sheets of phyllo in pan, and then brush a layer of melted butter, then two more sheets and then melted butter. Repeat two more times. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the nut mixture, spreading it evenly over phyllo. Two more sheets of phyllo, brush on layer of melted butter, nuts, and keep layering.
- Once you have all your layers complete, take a sharp knife and cut into four long rows and then cut diagonal cuts to make diamond or square pieces. Trust me, you want to make these cuts now, because if you wait to cut after the Baklava has baked, it will be harder to cut without crumbling. Bake for 50 minutes or until Baklava is golden and crispy (but not too dark). All ovens run a bit differently, so check at 50 minutes. I have had to cook mine for 55 minutes before.
- The syrup can be made while your Baklava is baking in the oven. In a saucepan or pot, boil sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved completely. Add the honey, squeeze of lemon juice, and vanilla. Let simmer for 25 minutes. Once the Baklava is cooked, remove it from the oven and drizzle the syrup over the entire thing. Garnish with crushed pistachios. Let cool. Serve and enjoy!
This version is syrupy and filled with ooey gooey goodness!
Tita Fely’s Baklava
- 1 box of phyllo sheets, defrosted
- 2 cups lightly ground almonds or any nuts of your choice
- 1 cup melted butter
- 2 eggs, beaten. Mix with 2 cups of white sugar and 1 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take 1 phyllo sheet, lightly butter one side, fold over, then butter top side. Crinkle the phyllo sheet like a fan. Cover the rest of the phyllo sheets with a dampened towel to prevent the sheets from drying.
- Repeat procedure (butter, fold, butter, fold like fan) with all of the phyllo sheets. Arrange them all on cookie sheet covered with lightly buttered parchment paper. Bake phyllo sheets between 12-15 minutes until almost golden brown.
- Remove from oven and brush with syrup mixture. Sprinkle the nuts on top, drizzle with a bit more syrup, put back in oven for about 10 more minutes. Watch to make sure the syrup mixture does not burn. Continue until all the sheets have been buttered, baked, drizzled with syrup and nuts, and baked again.
- When slightly cooled, cut into 6 equal pieces and arrange on platter.
There you have it! Baklava two ways!
Tell me which way you prefer! The first baklava recipe or the second one?
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