Madeline’s Armenian Baklava
July 12, 2017
"This is my mother-in-laws recipe. In my opinion, this exceeds all of the baklava's that I have had and have bought at Greek shops, etc. (Greeks, please do not take offense, but hers is GREAT). My mother-in-law perfected this recipe, but she had not written it down. Finally, I watched her make it and wrote it step by step, measurement-by-measurement to make sure I got it right. I've had this recipe for a while now and wasn't sure if I wanted to post it, but I'd like to share with those who also may enjoy it. In Madeline's memory...ENJOY BAKLAVA."
- FOR BAKLAVA
- FOR SYRUP
- Serving Size: 1 (104.5 g)
- Calories 474.9
- Total Fat - 36 g
- Saturated Fat - 13.2 g
- Cholesterol - 48.8 mg
- Sodium - 177.2 mg
- Total Carbohydrate - 36.8 g
- Dietary Fiber - 1.9 g
- Sugars - 32.7 g
- Protein - 5.9 g
- Calcium - 26.7 mg
- Iron - 0.9 mg
- Vitamin C - 1.1 mg
- Thiamin - 0 mg
Step by Step Method
In a bowl, combine the chopped walnuts, cinnamon, and sugar making sure all ingredients are well distributed. Set aside.
Have 2 small saucepans ready: To one saucepan melt ½ pound (2 sticks) butter and 3 T. Crisco. In 2nd saucepan melt ½ pound (2 sticks) butter and 3 T. Crisco.
Using the melted butter from the 1st saucepan, butter a 9 x 13” pan or larger size jelly roll pan.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Carefully remove phyllo sheets from one of the boxes and cover with towel to prevent it from drying out (Refer to Note 1 below). Trim sheet to fit the bottom of pan. (Save trimmings and distribute evenly between each layer).
With a pastry brush, butter phyllo, cover with 2nd phyllo sheet and butter again, repeat with the 3rd sheet.
Cover with 4th sheet and butter every other sheet until all sheets from first box are used. Make sure top layer is buttered.
Evenly spread walnut mixture over buttered phyllo.
Using the phyllo from the 2nd box, cover walnuts with phyllo sheet, trimming phyllo sheet to cover walnuts evenly.
Using melted butter from 2nd saucepan, butter every other sheet, making sure that the top 3 sheets of phyllo are each buttered.
Place pan in a cool place or refrigerate to set butter (Can be done for an hour or overnight).
Once the butter has hardened, with a sharp serrated knife, cut phyllo dough to form diamond shapes being careful to make sure baklava doesn’t come apart, but remains neatly in pan.
Make sure you cut all the way through to the very bottom of pan and setting tops back on if they become dislodged (a sharp serrated knife with a point if essential). Place pan back in the refrigerator if butter has warmed up while you were cutting.
Bake baklava for 35 – 40 minutes until golden brown.
While baklava is in the oven prepare your syrup:
Place sugar in a medium size saucepan. Add water and let come to a boil until sugar has dissolved.
Let it boil for about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice; stir to combine.
Place syrup back on stove top and let come to a boil again for about 1 - 2 minutes more. Remove from stovetop; stir.
Place on stovetop again and boil for about 1-2 minutes, (for a total of 3 times taking it on and off the stove), set aside.
(My mother-in-laws father taught her this method. He was a candy maker for Teddy Peanut Butter in the 30's and this is the method they used (back then, they didn't only make peanut butter, but made candy too). He claimed that it prevents the sugar from crystallizing).
Pour cooled syrup over warm (Refer to NOTE 2, below) baklava while still in the pan. Spoon syrup evenly over baklava.
Let stand at room temperature for several hours before serving.
Makes approximately 6 – 7 dozen mini diamond shaped baklava’s
NOTE 1: Make sure to cover the phyllo completely to the very edges with a dry kitchen towel and keep it covered as much as possible so as not to dry out. I made the mistake once to dampen a towel, and the phyllo all stuck together. Big mistake.
*NOTE 2: The baklava shouldn’t be cooled all the way through when syrup is added, this helps syrup permeate the baklava*
NOTE 3: I've ran these using a food processor, but prefer by far chopping them on a cutting board using a chef's knife as it results in a much better product. You have to be careful when using a food processor because it has the tendency to sometimes pulverize the walnuts to a powder and leaving some walnuts still in big chunks.
Tips & Variations
No special items needed.