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Baklawa (Baklava)

Baklawa is a popular dessert in Syria, made by using nuts and sugar syrup wrapped in Filo. A ‘filo’ is a thin sheet of un-raised dough that is used in various desserts.

Among the most famous Syrian sweets are Baklawa pastries that are handmade-baked by using finest   fresh natural ingredients.  Baklawa is usually made in different shapes, sizes, and the main difference among its kinds lies in the fillings (pistachios, cashews, pine nuts and walnuts).

The Syrian Baklawa way of making starts by preparing sugar syrup with a dash of lime juice. After cooling, the syrup is added to walnuts and then mixed well. Baklawa takes about 35-40 minutes of cooking.

Once the filo layers turn golden brown, then sugar syrup is added again on top of the Baklawa and then it is decorated with pistachios and other nuts.

Ingredients

1 kg of chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pistachios)

1 kg of phyllo dough

1 cup of butter, melted

4 cup of sugar

 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/3 teaspoon of ground cloves

For the syrup:

 1 cup of water

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of honey

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1 cinnamon stick

 Finely ground pistachios for garnish

Preparation:

1- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Chop walnuts by hand into small pieces. Transfer to a bowl and mix with sugar, cinnamon, cloves and orange blossom water.

2- Cut phyllo to the size of the baking pan, and put a sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. Brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter using a pastry brush. Repeat 7 more times until it is 8 sheets thick, each sheet being "painted" with the butter.

5- Spoon on a thin layer of the nut mixture. Cover with two more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with butter. Repeat the nut mixture and two buttered sheets of phyllo until the nut mixture is all used up. The top layer should be 8 phyllo sheets thick, each sheet being individually buttered.

6- Cut into 24 equal sized squares using a sharp knife. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown, and edges appear slightly crisp.

7 - The syrup: Combine the cinnamon stick, sugar, lemon juice, honey, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low heat and let simmer for 7 minutes and slightly thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick and allow to cool.

8- Pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava and let cool for at least 4 hours. Garnish with some finely crushed pistachios.

 

Hamsa Zughib

 

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