Orange Flower-Scented Baklava

Orange Flower-Scented Baklava

Author Notes: My version of baklava is mostly traditional, packed full of buttery
layers of phyllo pastry filled with walnuts and pistachios, but I added a few non-traditional extras to the syrup that is poured over the top. A
split vanilla bean adds another layer of sweetness (and beautiful little seeds), and just a bit of orange flower water perfumes the cookies just slightly. If you are not a fan of (or can’t find) the orange flower
water, a bit of cinnamon or cardamom is great in the syrup, too.

For easy serving, transfer the individual pieces of baklava to
cupcake liners or squares of parchment paper, then keep them in an
airtight container at room temperature. Baklava can also be frozen,
baked or unbaked. Just le

Makes one 9- by 13-inch pan, about 36 cookies

For the syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mild honey
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange flower water

For the baklava:

  • 8 ounces shelled pistachios, plus a few more to garnish
  • 8 ounces walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound phyllo dough, thawed and at room temperature
  1. To make the syrup: Bring the sugar, honey, vanilla
    bean, and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring
    occasionally, boil the mixture until it reduces to a slightly syrupy
    consistency, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and orange flower
    water and set the syrup aside to cool. Remove the vanilla bean pod when
    cool.
  2. To make the baklava: Preheat oven to 350° F and butter a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Trim the phyllo sheets so they will fit in
    the pan.
  3. In a food processor, coarsely grind the pistachios and walnuts. Add the sugar, spices, and a pinch of salt and pulse to
    combine.
  4. Line the pan with one sheet of phyllo dough and brush
    it with butter, repeat 5 more times. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture
    over the top. Top with 6 more sheets of buttered phyllo dough, followed
    by 1/3 of the nut mixture. Top with 8 sheets phyllo dough, buttering in
    between each layer. ((Your grand total of sheets: 6 + 6 + 6 + 8.) Brush
    the top of the phyllo with butter and trim any overhanging edges.
  5. Use a sharp knife to cut 6 lengthwise strips through
    the top layer of the dough. Slice each strip diagonally into about 6
    diamond shapes.
  6. Bake the baklava until golden brown and crisp, 45 to
    55 minutes. Remove the pan to a rack, and carefully cut through the
    scored lines. Pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava. Let sit for a
    few hours before digging in. Sprinkle with additional chopped
    pistachios. Store covered, at room temperature for up to one week.

t it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before
serving or baking.

 

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