Thought I’d share the recipe for the baklava I took to the Mary Jacobs Library in Rocky Hill when I spoke there last week. If you have avoided making this because of having to butter all those sheets of phyllo, have I got a solution for you. Don’t do it. Try my easy method below, instead.
In our family, we don’t butter the individual sheets of phyllo. Instead, I assemble the dough and filling in three layers, cut it into diamonds with a rotary pizza cutter, and then pour the melted butter over it, shaking the pan slightly (horizontally, not up and down!) to help distribute the butter. It works fine, and eliminates most of the handling of the delicate phyllo dough.
1 package phyllo dough (1 pound)
1 cup butter, melted (2 sticks)
1 ½ cups chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pistachios
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Combine filling ingredients, mixing well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brush some melted butter on the bottom of a 12×17- or 10×15-inch baking pan (or cut sheets in half down middle for two 9×13-inch pans). Lay 1/3 of the phyllo sheets on the bottom of pan. Spread half the filling on top. Add the next 1/3 of phyllo sheets, and the remaining filling. Top with remaining phyllo.
Trim edges if necessary. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut into diamonds. Pour melted butter over and gently shake pan to distribute. Bake 35-40 minutes. Warm the honey in a small saucepan, mix in vanilla and lemon juice, simmer a moment, and drizzle over hot baklava. Cool.