Published April 22, 2008 by
A usually unfamiliar dessert, baklava is a great treat if you want to try something different from the usual cake or cookies.
For the Baklava:
For the syrup:
To make the baklava: In a bowl, combine nuts with the sugar. Add the orange peel and set mixture aside.
Brush a 9×13 inch baking pan along the bottom and sides with some of the melted butter.
Place one sheet of phyllo in the pan.
Brush the phyllo generously with the melted butter. Repeat layering and brushing with butter 8 sheets of phyllo, working quickly.
Sprinkle approximately ½ cup (more or less according to taste) of the nut mixture evenly across the top.
Layer 3 more phyllo sheets, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Then sprinkle nut mixture evenly across the phyllo. Repeat this step until you run out of nut mixture.
After the last of the nut mixture, layer 8 more sheets of phyllo, brushing each sheet with butter. Cover the pan and place in the fridge for approximately 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 300° F.
When the baklava is chilled, remove the pan from the fridge. Using a long, very sharp knife, Cut the baklava into small diamonds: First make 6 evenly spaced lengthwise cuts. Cut straight down until the tip of the knife touches the bottom of the pan, and keeping the knife straight, cut in a straight line all the way. Next, begin at the upper left end and cut diagonally across the lengthwise cuts to form diamonds, starting in one corner and making cuts until you reach the opposite corner. You should have about 48 diamonds.
Bake 90 minutes or until golden brown.
To make the syrup: Mix the sugar and water in a medium saucepan, Add the lemon peel.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 to 25 minutes, until the syrup thickens. Remove from heat and remove the lemon peel with a slotted spoon.
Add the lemon juice and stir. Set the syrup aside to cool.
Remove the baklava from the oven and spooned the cooled syrup evenly over the hot baklava.
Cover and allow to rest, at least several hours and preferable overnight, at room temperature, before serving.