A perfect treat for the holidays...quite easy to do. This is perfect for a large gathering...I usually cut them and place them in muffin/candy paper liners. These are best eaten at least one day after being baked, it allows the flavors to fully develop.
Yield: 24 Ready in 2 hours
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Preheat oven to 325 Degs.
Grease an 13x9 glass pan. Alternately, you can use parchment paper, which I prefer. Set aside.
Chop nuts...more on the fine side than coarse.Add any flavoring you like, I prefer orange peel, a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. You can leave it plain as well.
If you like you can add some dried plain bread crumbs. I always just use nuts. I use a phyllo dough pack that comes in 2 packages...the sheets fits almost in a 13x9 pan. Brush each phyllo sheet with butter layering 5 at a time. Keep the sheets covered with a damp towel to prevent drying out. Sprinkle with nuts all over.Repeat layering phyllo dough and nuts, until all dough is used up. Keep in mind the amount of nuts you have so you don't run out...in case you do, you can always chop some more nuts. You should end up with the phyllo dough on top. Brush the top layer with melted butter. Cut through the layers diagonally and then horizontally to form diamond shapes.Be careful as you cut, as the top sheets want to come off the nuts...press lightly with your fingers to keep it in place as you cut. Bake for about 75 minutes or until nicely golden brown.
To form baklava rolls:
Take one( or two sheets, in case you want your roll to be thicker) phyllo sheet and brush with melted butter. Using the longer side of the phyllo sheet, place a long kebab skewer (or you can also use a long knitting needle...even the back of a long wooden spoon).Overlap the skewer with the edge of the phyllo sheet...about 1/2 inch of the edge. On the overlapped edge, sprinkle with about 2 TBS of ground nuts.Roll the baklava with the help of the skewer, just don't roll too tightly. Take the roll with the help of the skewer to the pan. Wrinkle the dough off of the skewer and place in the pan.Brush with melted butter. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown...check after 2o minutes or so. You can cut the baklava rolls in 3 pieces or even in small bites.
To make the syrup:
In a saucepan, heat sugar, lemon juice, and 3/4 cup water on high heat. Bring to a boil and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Boil for 3 minutes without stirring.Remove from heat, stir in honey and rose water(if using).Cover and cool completely.
Take hot baklava out and pour cooled syrup over entire pan...I like to use a large spoon to make sure all of the baklava gets covered. You want to pour a cool syrup over a hot baklava~this ensures that your baklava stays nice and crisp and not soggy. Let cool completely. I like to place the baklava in muffin/candy liners. This helps them no to get all over you and is a great way to transport them to a party or gathering.
It is best after it sits a day or so...the syrup penetrates the whole pastry and becomes quite delicious. You can further decorate with a drizzle of melted chocolate and/or a sprinkle of chopped nuts.
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