Recipe: Eleni’s Baklava

Try this delicious recipe for Baklava by Eleni Gianopulos, owner of Eleni’s Bakery on our Chelsea Market/ Meatpacking District Tour courtesy of Elizabeth Street.



Ingredients
1 lb. phyllo dough
1 lb. butter, melted
4 c. finely chopped walnuts1 ½  tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½  tsp ground all spice
2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. water
1 lemon
Have on hand:
1 Paintbrush
9×13-inch pan
1. Heat oven to 350°F. In a separate mixing bowl, combine finely chopped walnuts with cinnamon, all spice and cloves until thoroughly incorporated.
2. Brush the bottom and sides of your pan with butter using the paintbrush. Add 1 layer of phyllo dough to bottom, and quickly paint phyllo with butter using the paintbrush. Do not be fussy, as phyllo can get dry and difficult to work with.
3. Continue this process with 8 sheets of phyllo dough, coating each lightly with melted butter. When you have the eight-sheet base, sprinkle the nut mixture from your hand on the phyllo dough, coat with butter, and repeat. Continue phyllo-butter-walnuts, approximately five times until you have used all the walnuts. Save 8 pieces of phyllo for top layers of the baklava.
4. Repeat process placing phyllo dough painted with butter. For top layer of phyllo, apply butter lavishly and make certain phyllo fits the pan well by trimming any excess phyllo with a knife first to get a perfect fit.
Tip: Use a paintbrush with black bristles to see any that might come off while painting the phyllo and remove. Choose a thin phyllo: if you purchase the phyllo frozen allow it to thoroughly defrost in the refrigerator, not on a counter.
5. Score the baklava. Place the baklava in the refrigerator for 1 hour to set up. This setup time makes it much easier to cut the baklava. Cut one line from the top of pan to the bottom, from left to right entire 12-inch length of pan. The other lines are cut on the diagonal creating diamond shapes; make the lines bigger or smaller depending on how much space you place between initial score marks.
Tip:  It is recommended, if you are making baklava for the first time, to draw the cut lines on paper first before cutting the baklava.  This practice will allow you to see the size of each piece and give you an opportunity to adjust the size if it is not what you wanted. 
6. Bake the baklava. After scoring the baklava, sprinkle some water on top and place into preheated oven at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown.  If the baklava is browning too fast, place foil on top of it for the last 20 minutes of bake time.
For the syrup:
1. Place 2 c. granulated white sugar and 1 c. water into pan, bring to boil for about 2 minutes then reduce heat until sugar has thoroughly dissolved, and you have a simple syrup.
2. Squeeze a tiny bit of lemon into syrup. The syrup should be made about 10 minutes before the baklava is ready to come out of the oven.
3. Remove the syrup from the heat and the baklava from the oven and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Pour evenly over the entire baklava.  
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