For a (AWESOME) school project, I had to make baklava. Baklava is a traditional Egyptian dessert consisting of many layers of flaky pastry and spiced walnuts, covered in a sweet, orange-blossom-flavored syrup, called a sharbat. The flavors meld together into one sweet treat.
Some of the ingredients include ghee, orange blossom water and phyllo dough — not your typical ingredients.
You can find phyllo dough in the frozen foods isle at Walmart. There are two rolls of pastry inside the box. Each sheet of phyllo dough is 9×13 inches. One roll of pastry will be for the bottom half of the baklava and the other roll for the top half.
Orange blossom water and ghee can be found at many Asian food stores. If you are lucky, your Walmart may even have these ingredients. If you can’t find ghee, you can replace it with butter. As for orange blossom water, you can omit that, but the flavor will not be the same.
Makes: 24 large baklava triangles
2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 cups ghee, melted, or as needed
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1 package of phyllo dough (one pound), thawed to room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange blossom water
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Prepare a baking pan by lining with foil. Scatter the walnuts evenly on the pan and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, stirring halfway.
After the nuts are roasted, turn the oven to 400˚F. Roasting the nuts gives them a golden brown color and intensifies the flavors.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the roasted walnuts, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup of melted ghee, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon orange blossom water. Set aside.
Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. Place two sheets of phyllo dough in the pan. Brush with melted ghee.
Then spread the walnut mixture that was prepared earlier on top.
Continue adding two sheets of phyllo dough and then brushing with melted ghee until all sheets are used up.
Cut baklava into rectangles, and then cut rectangles in half diagonally to form triangles.
Bake at 400˚F for 5 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 300˚F and bake for an additional 50 minutes or until golden brown.
While the baklava is baking, prepare the sugar syrup or sharbat.
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water. Heat over medium heat for 10 minutes or until it starts to boil. Take it off the heat and add the 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Return to the heat and cook until the sharbat boils again. Remove the sharbat from the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons orange blossom water. Set aside to cool.
When the baklava is done baking, spoon the sharbat over it, making sure to get in between the cuts. Let the baklava cool. Then, using a sharp knife, go over the cuts. Then, remove the baklava from the pan, piece-by-piece. Enjoy!