Baklava With Pistachio Nuts
Note: You can add more honey and reduce the amount of sugar.
- 1½ lbs pistachio nuts
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 lb Phyllo dough – thawed
- 1¼ lbs unsalted butter – melted
- Tall large pot for making syrup
- Candy thermometer
- Baking pan about the size of the Phyllo sheets
- 2-3 inch paintbrush for applying melted butter
- Thaw the Phyllo inside its plastic package. Don’t open it until you’re ready to use it. If you’re in a hurry you can thaw it in its sealed plastic package in warm water.
- Chop the nuts with the powdered cinnamon in a food processor. You want a fine chop, not powder.
- Combine the sugar, honey, water, cinnamon sticks, and lemon juice in a large pot. Stir well and boil until the mixture reaches 220°F (100°C) on a candy thermometer (soft ball). Remove it from heat, skim the top, and let cool. Remove the cinnamon sticks. The lemon is an important ingredient in the syrup as it keeps it from crystallizing while cooling.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan while the syrup is boiling. You can clarify the butter but it’s not necessary.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Open the Phyllo and unfold it. Brush the inside of the baking pan with melted butter. While your assembling, cover the unused Phyllo with a damp towel. Make sure your butter is very liquid when you start. Put six (6) sheets of Phyllo in the pan, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Set aside another six (6) sheets which will be used for the top layers. After the first six sheets, sprinkle a handful of the nut mixture over the last sheet. Add another sheet and repeat the process until you get to the last six sheets. Place the last six sheets on top of the rest brushing each with butter. With a very sharp knife, cut the pastry into diamond shapes, all the way through. Sprinkle the top with water.
- Put the pastry into the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour or until the tops of the pastry are medium golden brown. When done, remove from the oven and ladle the cool syrup over the hot pastry.
- Let it sit for about 5-15 minutes, then drain off the excess syrup by tilting the pan as much as 45 degrees. Let it cool to near room temperature before eating.