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Christmas Baklava

Christmas Baklava: A Festive Treat to Delight Your Senses

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Christmas Baklava is a beloved dessert that combines layers of crisp Phyllo dough, spiced nuts, and sweet honey syrup. This delightful treat not only fills the air with irresistible aromas but also brings a touch of warmth and tradition to holiday celebrations. Learn how to create this decadent dessert step-by-step and make this Christmas memorable with a homemade delight that everyone will love.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound chopped pecans
  • 1/2 pound chopped walnuts
  • 2-3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound package of Phyllo dough
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Nut Filling:
    • Start by combining the chopped pecans and walnuts in a large bowl.
    • Add ground cinnamon to the nuts and toss until they are evenly coated. Set aside while you prepare the other components.
  2. Handle the Phyllo Dough:
    • Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C).
    • Carefully unroll the Phyllo dough sheets onto a clean, dry surface. Immediately cover them with a slightly damp towel to prevent them from drying out.
  3. Layer the Phyllo Dough:
    • Brush a 9×13 inch baking dish with some of the melted butter.
    • Place one sheet of Phyllo dough into the baking dish and lightly brush it with melted butter using a pastry brush.
    • Repeat this process, layering and buttering each sheet of Phyllo dough until you have used about half of the package. Make sure to work quickly to prevent the sheets from drying out.
  4. Add the Nut Mixture:
    • Spread a generous layer of the cinnamon-spiced nut mixture evenly over the buttered Phyllo dough in the baking dish. This will create a flavorful and crunchy filling between the layers.
  5. Continue Layering:
    • Layer the remaining sheets of Phyllo dough on top of the nut mixture, buttering each sheet as you go. This creates the signature flaky and crispy layers that Baklava is known for.
  6. Cut into Portions:
    • Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the layered Phyllo dough into diamond or square-shaped portions. This makes it easier to serve once baked and adds a decorative touch to the dessert.
  7. Bake the Baklava:
    • Place the prepared Baklava in the preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crisp. Keep an eye on it towards the end to ensure it doesn’t over-brown.
  8. Prepare the Honey Syrup:
    • While the Baklava is baking, combine the honey, vanilla extract, and grated lemon zest in a small saucepan.
    • Heat the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let it simmer gently for about 10 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld together and creates a sweet, aromatic syrup.
  9. Pour the Syrup:
    • Once the Baklava is done baking and still hot from the oven, carefully pour the warm honey syrup evenly over the entire pan. The hot Baklava will absorb the syrup, adding sweetness and moisture to each layer.
  10. Cool and Serve:
    • Allow the Baklava to cool completely in the baking dish before serving. This helps the layers to set and allows the flavors to develop fully.
    • Optionally, garnish with additional chopped nuts or a sprinkle of cinnamon before serving for added flavor and decoration.

Tips for Success:

  • Handling Phyllo Dough: Phyllo dough is delicate and dries out quickly. Always keep it covered with a damp towel while working with it to prevent it from becoming brittle.
  • Cutting Baklava: Use a sharp knife to cut through the layers of baked Baklava. This ensures clean cuts and helps maintain the structure of the dessert.
  • Storing Baklava: Store leftover Baklava in an airtight container at room temperature. It can be enjoyed for several days and tends to improve in flavor as the syrup continues to soak into the layers.

Christmas Baklava is more than just a dessert; it’s a celebration of flavors and traditions. With its crispy layers of Phyllo dough, aromatic spiced nuts, and sweet honey syrup, this dessert captures the essence of holiday joy and indulgence. Share this homemade treat with loved ones and create cherished memories around the table this Christmas season.