Walnut Baklava...Typically East Mediterranean.

This Delicious Baklava Was Made By Maria

Baklava as we all know, is made in the eastern Mediterranean countries of Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. Every country does it differently...
in the sense that the filling is different depending on what mostly grows. Some countries put walnuts, other put pistachios, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts or a mixture. Some countries crush the nuts to a powder (Syria and Lebanon) etc.   The idea is that at least 6 filo sheets are laid down at the bottom of a round or rectangular oven proof dish, with nuts put at 2 filo sheet layer intervals, topped with 4 sheets then cut in squares or rombi before put in the oven.
The important point about baklava is the success of the syrup consistency, and the quality of the filo pastry used.  The thinner the filo the better. The longer it is baked at low temperature the better. These are the secrets of the degree of crunchiness.
When buttering the filo, you should not leave white spots of bare fyllo with no butter.
You will need:
-  One 28 cm round baking dish (7 cm deep).
-  ½ kg pack of rectangular filo kroustas sheets or 16 sheets. (www.kanaki.gr)
-   680 gms walnuts roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle. (Do not use an electric chopper)
-  4 Tbsp. fine bread crumbs.
-  2 tsp. cinnamon.
-  1/8 tsp. powdered cloves.
-  2 Tbsp.corn flour.
-  250 gms good quality unsalted fresh butter melted.

-  1 Tbsp. olive oil mixed with the melted butter.
For the Syrup:
-  3 cups caster sugar.
-  1¾ cups water.
-  ½ cup glucose, or honey or golden syrup.
-  2 slices lemon.
-  3 pieces whole cloves.
-  Mix walnuts, corn flour, cinnamon, powdered cloves and fine bread crumbs  together very well.

-  Open your fyllo kroustas pack and extend the fyllo.

-  With a pastry brush butter well the bottom and sides of the oven dish.
-  Brush well with the melted butter the surface of the first fyllo from the stack. Brush with butter the sides of the stack to protect them from drying out. Fyllo dries very quickly.
-  Lay the fyllo on the round baking dish.

-  Brush the second fyllo of the stack with butter and lay it crosswise to the first to form a cross. Press with your brush to well fit the fyllo snugly around the base of the baking dish.
-  Brush a third sheet of fyllo and lay to cover the empty space between the first and third fyllo.
-  Brush a fourth sheet of fyllo to cover the last empty space.
-  Repeat the above for the next two sheets of fyllo. That is you should end up with 6 sheets on the bottom of your baklava to form a thick base.
-  Spread evenly walnut mix to cover.

-  Add two buttered fyllo sheets using the same method as above.
-  Add one more layer of walnut mix.
Until now we have put 6 on the bottom and 2 for the first layer total 8.
- Continue the same as above till you have consumed a total of 12 fyllo sheets. 4 fyllo sheets are left.
-  For this last step add two from the remaining four sheets but do not spread wide open. Tuck the edges under to take the shape of the round baking dish.
-  At this point take all the protruding sheet edges and fold them onto the top of the baklava and brush with butter until you see that all the fyllo sheets are stuck to each other.
-  There are two fyllo sheets left. Butter and lay them with their edges tucked under to form the top round surface of the baklava.
-  Now you have to cut the baklava before you bake it.
-  Using a sharp pointed knife make straight line cuts deep enough down to the base of the baking dish.
-  Cut vertical lines then horizontal lines thus making 1½ inch squares.

-  Spray the surface with some cold water.
Maria's Suggestion:
At this point you can freeze the baklava to (-)18 degrees Centigrade until you need it on the condition that you let it stand at room temperature for two hours before baking.
-  Bake for 3 hours at 150 degrees Centigrade.
Baking instructions:
-  Bake for 2½ hours on the lowest shelf of your oven.
-  Then raze baklava to the top shelf for the remaining ½ hour.
-  When ready and is still hot from the oven, pour the boiling hot syrup over it. Let the baklava absorb the syrup.
-  Let cool completely before serving.
-  Do not refrigerate in order to keep the baklava crunchy. Cover only with a kitchen towel.
-  It can stay 1 week outside the fridge. ( I do not think it is going to last that long...you will eat it way before).
Making of the Syrup:
-  Combine all ingredients except ( the honey, glucose or golden syrup) and boil for 7 -  8 minutes until you see many little bubbles on the surface of the liquid. The syrup is ready when the thermometer reads 108 degrees C. Then add the (honey, or glucose, or golden syrup), stir and mix, turn the heat off.
Baklava is good for midnight and middle of the night snacks, breakfast, after lunch, for tea or coffee, and dinner.

Enjoy with no remorse.


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