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Paklava, baklava, Armenian desserts

Paklava

A crispy, sweet, flaky desert with phyllo dough and cinnamon walnuts. 

Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) butter, melted, most of the white foam and solids skimmed off
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 lb 1 box 13" x 18" (or 14" x 18") phyllo dough, thawed in the refrigerator

Special tools: aluminum sheet pan (best to use a real sheet pan and NOT a disposable one, because you will cut through it), pastry brush, a damp towel

Instructions

For the syrup:

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved completely, remove from heat, and stir in the lemon juice. Cool completely and set aside.

For the paklava:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a pastry brush, brush the bottom of a 9" by 13" sheet tray with a thin layer of butter.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the walnuts and cinnamon. Reserve.
  3. Carefully unroll the phyllo dough. If it is AT ALL frozen, stop, and wait until it defrosts.
  4. Once unrolled, carefully remove 1-2 sheets of dough, and place them down on the sheet tray. They should lie completely flat, and fill (or overfill) the tray. You can cut off the excess or just let it come up the side, it doesn't matter. Cover the remaining sheets of dough with a damp towel so they don't dry out.
  5. Using the pastry brush, brush melted butter all over the phyllo dough in the pan. Then place 1-2 more sheets of dough on top of the buttered dough, and brush with melted butter. Repeat until you have placed about 9-10 sheets (or half the dough) in the sheet pan.
  6. Sprinkle the walnut mixture evenly all over the dough.
  7. Top the walnut layer with more phyllo dough, and repeat the process of brushing butter over every 1-2 sheets (making sure to cover the remaining dough with the damp towel). When you have run out of dough, brush the top layer of dough with butter. If there is any leftover butter, set aside or toss out.
  8. To cut the paklava into diamonds, cut every 2 inches (or so) vertically. Next, cut at a 45 degree angle at approximately every 2 inches (refer to the above pictures if this doesn't make sense). Cut carefully with a sharp knife, as layers can be slippery due to all of the butter. Alternatively, you can cut the dough into squares, and cut each square once diagonally to make triangles.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is just turning golden brown.
  10. Once removed from the oven, pour the cooled syrup all over the paklava, making sure to cover each piece. Allow paklava to cool in the pan.
  11. Serve either in the pan, or plate each piece on a cupcake liner.