Cooking Class: Walnut Cinnamon Baklava
Pour a honey syrup over layers of crunchy nuts and thin pastry for a flaky treat
Difficulty Level: 3 stars
On the Clock: 1 1/2 hours
Servings: 10 -12
For the honey syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup honey
3 cups water
1 whole orange, cut in half
For the walnut cinnamon filling
4 cups whole shelled walnuts
4 tablespoons cinnamon
For the flaky layers
1 16 oz. (12×17-inch) box phyllo dough, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
1 lb. butter, clarified*
*Cut the butter into large cubes and cook in a pan over low heat until thoroughly melted. Water will cook off in the form of steam, and foam will rise to the surface. Continue cooking until there is no more steam and the foam just begins to turn tan. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
1. To make the honey syrup, combine ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour. Discard the orange.
2. To make the filling, pulse the walnuts in a food processor to the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Stir in the cinnamon.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Brush a 9×12-inch baking pan that is at least one-inch deep with melted clarified butter.
5. Using a knife and a ruler or straight edge, cut the sheets of phyllo dough to fit the bottom of the pan. Cover the dough with a lightly dampened towel to keep it from drying out while assembling the baklava.
6. Place a sheet of phyllo in the pan and brush it liberally with clarified butter. Repeat with seven more sheets.
7. Spread the ground walnut mixture in an even layer over the phyllo.
8. Top the nut mixture with eight layers of phyllo, brushing each sheet with clarified butter.
9. With a very sharp knife and a straight edge as a guide, cut all the way through the layers of phyllo and walnut mixture into diamond shapes, approximately one inch on a side. (Optional: Stick a clove into every other diamond shape, for flavor and decoration; remove the clove before eating.)
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
11. Remove from the oven, and pour the warm honey syrup over the hot pastry.
12. Let set for at least 30 minutes before serving. Use a small spatula to remove the slices more easily.
Find It Local
Banner Bee honey, which is produced in Maryland, is sold at Dawson’s Market in Rockville; Baklava Couture in Kensington; at farmers markets in Olney and Downtown Silver Spring; and at www.bannerbees.com.