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Walnutty Baklava

Walnutty BaklavaFlaky phyllo pastry, pure golden honey and crunchy walnuts combine to create an exotic middle eastern dessert.

Recipe Ingredients:

Baklava:
3 1/2 cups toasted California walnuts - divided use
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
12 sheets phyllo pastry
2/3 cups butter, melted

Syrup:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup liquid honey
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 whole cloves

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. For Baklava: In food processor add walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs and transfer to bowl. Set aside. Line bottom and sides of 13x9x2-inch metal pan with parchment paper. Cut phyllo in half into 14 x 8-inch sheets.
  3. Place one sheet on work surface, keeping remaining sheets covered with a damp towel to prevent drying. Brush sheet lightly with butter and place another sheet on top. Repeat with 3 more sheets.
  4. Place stack in pan; sprinkle with 1 cup of the walnut mixture.
  5. Prepare another 4 sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter, and place over prepared sheets and walnut mixture in pan. Sprinkle with all but 1/4 cup of the walnut mixture.
  6. Prepare remaining sheets, brushing each with butter, and place on top.
  7. Using the tip of a knife and without cutting all the way through, cut phyllo diagonally from one corner to opposite corner; make parallel cuts, 1 1/2-inches apart, to edge. Repeat in opposite directions to make diamonds. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts.
  8. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  9. For Syrup: Meanwhile, in small saucepan whisk together sugar, honey, water, lemon zest, lemon juice and cloves. Bring to boil over medium high heat; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Discard cloves. Pour over hot baklava.
  10. Let cool completely on rack in pan. Using parchment, lift from pan onto cutting board and cut into diamond shapes (can be covered and made up to 1 day ahead).

Makes 48 small diamond-shaped bars.

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of California Walnuts.