Phyllo dough was not born in Greece, but rather in Istanbul during the Ottoman reign. But the Greeks can lay claim to creating the paper-thin version. It is well known that the Turks brought Baklava to Central Europe.
- 5 cups finely chopped blanched almonds
- 4 1 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 lbs phyllo dough
- 1 lb unsalted butter, melted
- 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
- 1 stick cinnamon
- Heat oven to 300°.
- Combine almonds, one cup sugar, bread crumbs, and ground cinnamon in a large bowl; set filling aside.
- Unwrap phyllo and trim to fit in a baking pan.
- Grease pan with some of the melted butter.
- Place 1 sheet of phyllo in pan; brush with butter.
- Lay a second sheet of phyllo over first sheet, brush with butter, and sprinkle with two tablespoons of almond filling.
- Spread a sheet of phyllo out on a clean work surface, brush with butter, then transfer, buttered side up, to pan.
- Evenly sprinkle with almond mixture. Set aside two sheets of phyllo for the top, then continue alternating almond mixture with single buttered sheets of phyllo.
- Use reserved phyllo sheets, separated only by butter, to cover top.
- Brush top with butter.
- Cut across baklava with a serrated knife at about 2” intervals. You should have 8 equal strips.
- Sprinkle top with water, cover with two sheets of parchment paper, and bake until golden, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Heat remaining sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, and two cups water in a saucepan over medium heat; cook until sugar dissolves, about 15 minutes.
- Remove syrup from heat, and discard cinnamon stick; let cool.
- Remove baklava from oven. Discard parchment paper, then pour syrup over entire surface.
- Tilt pan so syrup reaches all corners, then set baklava aside to cool for 2-3 hours.
- Finish cutting baklava on the diagonal for a traditional diamond shape or cut into squares.
- Serve and enjoy!