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TCP Kitchen

Nuts About Nuts

These tasty treats draw unique flavors out of their shell

While walnuts are traditional in Greece, and Turkey uses pistachios, in Texas our thoughts naturally turn to pecans for baklava. This sticky, nutty dessert is easier than it seems—it’s simply a matter of layering. Use a basting or pastry brush to lightly apply the butter to each layer, taking care to not rip the delicate phyllo dough.

Pecan Baklava

1 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided use
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups pecan halves, finely chopped in a food processor
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 pound (1 box) phyllo dough, thawed according to package instructions
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine water, 1 cup sugar and honey, and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking to dissolve sugar. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and let syrup cool.

2. In a bowl, combine pecans, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and cloves.

3. Unroll phyllo dough and trim as necessary to fit a 9-by-13-inch pan. Brush a thin layer of melted butter on the bottom and sides of the pan, then begin building the baklava.

4. Lay down a sheet of phyllo and brush butter over it. Repeat until you have 15 layers. Spread 1 cup of pecan mixture on top. Add 5 layers of phyllo, brushing on butter between each layer, then add 1 cup of pecans. Repeat twice until all pecans are used, then place on remaining phyllo layers, buttering between each.

5. Using a very sharp knife, cut baklava into squares or diamonds, making sure to cut through each layer. Hold the phyllo in place as you cut. Pour over any remaining butter.

6. Bake 40–50 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. Remove from oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup over the top; you should hear it sizzle. Let cool completely before serving.

Serves 24.

October 2022 Recipe Contest