Baklava is an Israeli favorite, especially because it can be made without dairy. This means the dessert is pareve, or neutral, and can be served with any meal during Jewish holidays. But it’s delicious all year round. Try Aly Miller’s version from The Nosher now.
16 oz. raw pistachios, walnuts, blanched almonds, or hazelnuts (or a mix, like 8 oz. raw pistachios and 8 oz. raw walnuts)
2 tsp cinnamon, ground
2 tsp cardamom, ground
1/4 cup honey or brown sugar
1 pack frozen phyllo dough sheets, thawed
1 cup oil (coconut or olive oil work well) or melted butter
1 1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
rind of 1 lemon, peeled
5 cardamom pods
2 Tbsp rose water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
First, add the nuts to a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are chopped finely but not ground into powder. Transfer to a bowl, and add cinnamon, cardamom and honey. Stir to combine.
Next, prepare the dough. Gently take the roll of phyllo dough out from its package, taking care not to rip or tear the sheets. Unroll the dough and place a damp tea towel or paper towel over the top sheet to keep the dough from becoming dry and flaky.
Place your bowl of melted butter or oil and the bowl of chopped nuts next to the stack of phyllo dough. Place your baking pan (9 inches x 12 inches x 2 inches) nearby.
Using a pastry brush, oil the bottom and sides of the pan. Then carefully remove the top sheet of phyllo dough and place it in the pan. Lightly brush oil over the entire top of this sheet. Place another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first sheet, brush oil on top, and add another sheet. Continue layering phyllo dough and oil until you have a stack of 10 sheets.
On the next sheet, spread 1/2 of the nut mixture on top with your hands. Try and make sure that the nuts are covering the entire sheet.
Cover the nuts with another layer of phyllo, and brush oil on top. Continue layering phyllo and oil until you have 5 more sheets. On top of the 6th sheet, add the rest of the nuts.
Add 10 more layers of oiled phyllo dough. Brush oil across the top sheet, too.
With a chef’s knife, make 6 long rows across the long side of the pan. Then cut diagonally across the pan from one corner to the other, and make cuts parallel to that diagonal line across the rest of the pan. Set in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Combine all syrup ingredients except for rosewater in a saucepan and boil for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Take off the heat, and stir in the rosewater. Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then strain.
When the baklava is done baking, let it cool for at least 30 minutes. The baklava will hold its crisp layers better if you let it cool down a bit before adding the syrup. When both the syrup and baklava have cooled, drizzle the syrup over the baklava. Don’t be afraid to use it all! Refrigerate for an hour before serving. Baklava can be enjoyed the day of, but its flavors really sink in after a day. You can store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.