We all have those days (sometimes weeks!) where we feel like we’re spinning our wheels, but if you want to put something tangible in the win column, this Greek baklava will do it. I learned how to make it (along with four other delicious sweet and savory dishes) at a Loblaws cooking class last week and taught my daughter how to do it in less than an hour yesterday afternoon.
It’s one of those complicated-looking recipes that are surprisingly simple, even more so the way Chef Mary Kosta taught us to put it together. Instead of stacking the buttered sheets of phyllo on top of each other you roll them into logs and press them together in your pan. Let me show you what I mean.
First, brush your baking dish or pan with a generous amount of melted butter. This will help keep all of your delicious crispy pastry from sticking to the bottom and the sides.
Slather more melted butter all over a sheet of phyllo.
Sprinkle the phyllo with your nut and cinnamon sugar filling. You won’t need near as much as Lily used here. (I was distracted taking photos and let her get a little carried away.)
Roll the sheet of phyllo as tight as you can (obviously this was a little difficult here with so much filling) and tuck it inside your pan. Don’t worry if the phyllo tears as you’re rolling it — it’ll look and taste just fine.
Continue with another 8 or 9 sheets (that’s how much we needed for our 9 x 5 dish), pressing each log tightly against the one before it.
Brush the whole mess with melted butter, making sure to get it in the cracks and down the sides. Butter is your friend!
Sprinkle with a little nut and cinnamon sugar filling and pop in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes.
About 5 to 10 minutes before it’s ready to come out of the oven, prepare your syrup (recipe below) and pour the hot syrup over the baklava as soon as it comes out of the oven.
You’ll end up with a pan of sweet delicious crispy pastry that should look something like this, although how it comes out of the pan may vary.
I cut mine into squares while it was still a little warm and the pieces fell apart so that it had the consistency of a very juicy apple crumble. With less syrup it may be dryer and hold together better, however the log method makes it more like a pull-apart baklava than one that could be easily cut into squares. But no matter. However it shakes down, one taste and you’ll see you’re a rock star. One for the win column, baby!
Here’s the recipe, courtesy of Chef Mary Kosta, President’s Choice Cooking School. I’ve adapted it for a 9 x 5 pan.
8 – 9 sheets phyllo dough
1 cup walnuts (but you can use any combo of your favourite nuts)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup melted salted butter
And for the syrup:
1.5 cups sugar
1.5 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 to 1 orange peel
4 cloves (optional; we don’t like cloves and left them out)
Heat oven to 350 F.
Brush a 9 x 5 dish with melted butter.
Crush walnuts in a food processor with sugar and cinnamon.
Brush a sheet of phyllo with melted butter. Sprinkle with nuts and sugar mixture. Roll the phyllo tightly and tuck it against the edge of the pan. Continue with remaining sheets, pushing each phyllo roll against the one before it.
Brush the top and sides of the phyllo with butter, making sure to get it in all of the cracks.
Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
To make the syrup, put all of the ingredients in the post and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. When the baklava is baked, pour the hot syrup on top and let it cool.
If you like your baklava crispy, keep any leftovers on the counter. (It will go soggy stored in the fridge.)
I partnered with Loblaws on this post, however all opinions are my own.