Layers and layers of buttery, crispy, sticky phyllo dough, citrus infused honey, ground walnuts and whole cloves come together to make the miracle that is baklava! There are several Greek families in Tupelo, MS. We recently had the privilege of learning some authentic Greek recipes at a cooking class.
Stamo Papademetrios is originally from a town near Thessoloniki, Greece. She moved to Tupelo originally to start a restaurant. At Greek Cooking Class, she taught us how to make Greek Salad, Pasticcio and Baklava.
The Greek recipes we learned that night might seem a little intimidating. I make pasticio once a year and I always call it a labor of love. It is a bit time consuming, so I do it for a cold month special occasion. I have never attempted baklava! All that said, when Stamo came in and made these recipes in my kitchen, they did not seem intimidating at all. I would even say, she made them easier...especially the baklava. We are sharing the recipe today! Hope you try it soon!
1 pound ground walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 pound Phyllo dough
4 sticks butter for basting
Whole cloves (optional)
2 cups sugar
3 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup honey
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cook sugar and cinnamon sticks in water to form a syrup, remove from the stove and add lemon and honey and let it cool.
Combine walnuts, sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
Line the bottom of a 13x9x2 butter baking pan with 10-12 phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter. Sprinkle the nut mixture on top and then top with 3 layers of phyllo and butter. Continue to layer until the nut mixture is used, which is about 4 layers. Cover with the remaining buttered phyllo.
Cut down the middle lengthwise, then through the middle widthwise, then lengthwise through each half to make 4 rows and continue cutting widthwise to make rectangles, finally cut each rectangle diagonally, place a whole clove into each piece if desired.
Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until golden on top, slowly pour syrup over baklava immediately after baking.