Christmas Baklava

 



Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry beloved across many cultures, with its origins deeply entrenched in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. This delicious dessert is made of layers of filo pastry, filled with chopped nuts, and sweetened with syrup or honey. It is often garnished with ground pistachios, walnuts, or almonds. While baklava is enjoyed year-round, it takes on special significance during the Christmas season for many around the world, becoming a festive treat that brings a touch of Middle Eastern flair to the holiday table.

When serving Christmas Baklava, think warm, cozy, and indulgent. This dessert is perfectly complemented by a mug of your favorite hot beverage. Consider a spiced Christmas tea or a robust coffee to cut through the sweetness. If you prefer a cold contrast, a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream can be an excellent side. After a hearty holiday meal, baklava serves as a luscious finale that can be enjoyed in small, satisfying portions.

Christmas Baklava


Ingredients:

- 1 package of filo pastry, thawed if frozen

- 2 cups of mixed nuts (such as pistachios, walnuts, and almonds), finely chopped

- 1 cup of unsalted butter, melted

- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves

- 1 cup of granulated sugar

- 1 cup of water

- 1 cup of honey

- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

- Zest of one orange

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).

2. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan.

3. Mix the chopped nuts with cinnamon and ground cloves and set aside.

4. Unroll the filo pastry. Cover the sheets with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out as you work.

5. Place two sheets of filo in the bottom of the prepared pan and brush generously with melted butter. Repeat this process until you have about eight layered sheets.

6. Sprinkle a thin layer of the nut mixture on top of the filo. Then layer two more sheets of filo, butter them, and sprinkle another layer of nuts. Continue this pattern until the nut mixture is used up, finishing with a layer of filo on top.

7. Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava into diamonds or squares. Drizzle any remaining melted butter over the top.

8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until the baklava is golden and crisp.

9. While the baklava is baking, prepare the syrup. Combine sugar, water, honey, vanilla extract, and orange zest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

10. Once the baklava is out of the oven and still hot, pour the syrup evenly over the top. Allow it to soak in, uncovered and at room temperature, for several hours.


11. Once completely cooled, re-cut the pieces following the lines you made prior to baking and serve. Enjoy your festive Christmas Baklava!