This Christmas Baklava at its core is a strong sweet dessert. Done well, one to two bites will satiate you in one sitting, kind of like the area coffee. It’s truly delicious and worth every minute it takes to create. Made of layer upon layer of buttered phyllo filled with chopped nuts and dried fruit, served together with a special syrup that changes the texture of this pastry from flaky and crisp, to tender and soft!
1/2 pound chopped pecans
1/2 pound chopped walnuts
2-3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 pound package of Phyllo dough
1-1/2 cups butter, melted
2-1/2 cups honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 ) Mix nuts together in a large bowl and toss with the ground cinnamon. Set aside.
2 ) Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Place 2 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of prepared dish. Brush generously with melted butter.
3 ) Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Repeat layers until all the nuts, butter, and phyllo are used.
4 ) End with about 6 layers of phyllo on the top. If you still have some butter left, brush it over the top layer.
5 ) Using a very sharp knife, cut through all layers of the baklava. Cut 3-4 sliced length-wise.
6 ) Then make diagonal cuts to make diamond shapes.
7 ) Bake in a heated 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes, until golden and crisp.
8 ) While baklava is baking, heat honey in a saucepan until close to boiling. Stir in vanilla and lemon zest.
9 ) When baklava is done baking, immediately pour the honey mixture over the top.
10 ) Let cool completely in the pan.