Rita invited me over to make baklava with her earlier this week. I eagerly agreed because I love baklava but I've never made it before. What a great chance to learn something new and to get to eat something delicious!
First, we took five sheets of filo dough and buttered them down one at a time. Rita told me to "cover them pretty well but don't drown them." I did my best but those sheets of filo are like thin pieces of tracing paper and they want to rip every time you touch them!
Next we covered the filo with nuts. Rita had already prepared a mix of ground up walnuts, pistachios and almonds. We left about 1" around the edges to help with rolling it up.
Once it was rolled, I cut it into two long pieces and put them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Then Rita showed me how to slice the rolls into smaller pieces, without cutting all the way through so they'd stay together while baking but bake all the way through.
Then they went into the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. When they came out, we let them cool for a few minutes then cut them all the way through into slices. Rita had prepared a syrup to dunk the rolls in, which smelled amazing.
Bring everything to a gentle boil and then lower to a simmer – mixture will foam up so use a larger saucepan. Let cook until water has evaporated somewhat and mixture is thicker, about 20 minutes or so. This can be done several days ahead and reheated. Let cool a bit before dipping baklava into syrup.
We used tongs to dip the baklava rolls into the syrup then laid them on a rack to absorb the sauce and cool. Rita said to leave them uncovered until morning so they'd get crispy then store, covered, either in the fridge or on the counter.
Here was the final product. I ate three on my way home; they were so good! What a treat!