OMGeezy, I am about to toot my own horn! Just be prepared!
A dear friend that Zac and I grew up with was heading out for dinner, and I didn't have a thing to make so I decided I would order in from this amazeballs Greek restaurant across the road. It is legit...but, I have a hard time having someone over for dinner, that I simply ordered in. I had to get my dessert baking on! In my pantry/fridge/freezer search I found fillo dough and instantly felt the need to make baklava!!! I had never made it, but knew the taste, as I used to open boxes and boxes of frozen baklava when I worked at BoDiddley's back in the day and one time watched a roommate make it in college. Photographic memory...not going to lie!
This recipe will make an 8x8 inch pan. If you do a 9x13 pan, just double the recipe...since this was my first time making it, and I didn't have a recipe, I decided not to commit to the big boy pan!
1 roll of fillo dough. I pulled it out of the freezer, but kept the roll in
the plastic and let it come to room temperature.
Toss 2 cups of raw pecans with 1 tsp cinnamon and place on
a baking sheet and pop in a 300 degree oven for 5 minutes.
Place toasted pecans, 1 T. granulated sugar and
1/4 tsp sea salt in a food professor (if you don't
have a food professor, put in a plastic back and
run a rolling pin over it to break up into bits)
Pulse until it looks something like this.
Generously butter the baking dish.
Fillo dough is a major B WORD to work with...work fast. Typically,
I use a pastry brush, to brush butter between each thin layer of dough.
Alas, I couldn't find my pastry brush, so I just threw a couple layers
of dough down (I was in a hurry...we had a play date to get to) and
proceeded to the next step.
I melted 4 T. butter and since I couldn't find a brush, I just drizzled
a little over the third piece of dough, and spread the melted
butter around with clean fingers.
Top the buttered fillo layers with roughly 1/3
of the pecan mixture. Then, proceed to layer the fillo
dough, melted butter and pecan mixture 2 more times,
finishing with a top layer of fillo dough, topped with butter.
If you are spreading the melted butter around with your hands, press
the layers down tightly, as you are doing it. If you are using a pastry
brush to spread the melted butter, press the top layer of fillo down firmly,
before you brush the final layer of melted butter.
With a sharp knife, cut all the way through each layer. Decide how big you
want the pieces, before you start cutting. Double check that you cut all the
way to the bottom of the pan!!!
Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30-35 minutes
(keep in mind that this time is for a small pan).
While the pastry baked, I combined 4 T. butter, 3/4 cup honey,
1/4 cup water, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a sauce
pan and brought to a boil, then reduced to simmer for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, I removed from heat and stirred in 1 tsp vanilla.
This is what it should look like when you remove from the oven...
The top will be golden brown and crisp.
Immediately pour the sauce over the hot pastry. The sauce is the sticky
goodness that is loooved about baklava.
Ready to be devoured!
I might be a little heavy on the pecans in this recipe, and I have learned
that the sea salt is not typical, but it definitely balances the crazy sweet syrup.