If you're looking for delicious holiday treat that only uses a pound of butter, then I have the perfect thing for you!
When the Husband first requested this a couple of years ago for a Christmastime treat, I asked my Mother-in-law what recipe she uses (this was a childhood favorite of my husband). She sent me a link to a recipe by Michael Symon - except(!), she uses a different recipe for the syrup - both of which are found below. I've made this with both walnuts and pistachios - pistachios are my favorite!
(Baklava recipe by Michael Symon. Baklava syrup recipe by Kathy Crapo)
For the Baklava:
- 1 pound pistachios and/or walnuts, coarsely ground, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
- 1 cup ground zwieback crackers or breadcrumbs
- 4 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 40 or so sheets of Phyllo dough (thawed, if frozen)
For Baklava Syrup:
- 1/3 Cup Honey
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- Dash of Vanilla
- Pinch of Salt
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Combine the nuts, cinnamon and ground crackers in a bowl.
Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with some of the butter. Layer 14 pieces of phyllo in the dish, brushing each piece with butter before adding the next (keep the remaining dough covered with a damp towel). Sprinkle a quarter of the nut mixture over the dough (about 1 Cup). Layer 5 pieces of phyllo on top, brushing each with butter before adding the next; sprinkle with another quarter of the nut mixture. Add 5 more phyllo pieces on top, brushing each with butter, then add another quarter of the nut mixture, 5 more pieces of phyllo with butter, and the remaining nuts.
Layer the remaining 11 pieces of phyllo on top of the nuts, brushing each with butter; brush the top piece with extra butter. Cut into the baklava to make strips, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Then make diagonal slices, about 1 1/2 inches apart, to create a diamond pattern. Bake until golden, about 1 hour.
Bring the sugar, honey and water to a boil and cook, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice, vanilla and salt and boil 2 more minutes, then let cool slightly.
Pour the syrup over the warm baklava; let soak, uncovered, at least 6 hours or overnight. Garnish with nuts.