About this recipe: A Greek favourite that makes everyone think you are a master chef, yet it is sooo easy to make!! The recipe is courtesy of a Greek friend.
I have made Baklava for about 30 years now, ever since my greek stepmother made it during my teenage years. At first it took me about an hour to assemble, but now only about 15 minutes. Here are the shortcuts to save time. I do let the phyllo dough thaw, but do not cut the dough and do not cover it while layering. I just drape the bottom half over the pan and then fold the top half over it, "painting" a thin layer of butter quickly. I use a new and clean basting paint brush, to spread a very thin layer of butter between each phyllo sheet. It is only necessary to lightly brush on the butter, not saturate. The more wrinkles the sheet has in it, the better. You just keep putting and folding the edges and that ends up making the baklava more layered and crispy. If it turns out soggy, it's from too much butter, not the sauce. Also, when you cut the Baklava before you bake it, use a sharp knife and cut to within a half inch FROM the bottom of the pan, so then when you pour the sauce into the cooled Baklava, the sauce seeps into every layer of the Baklava, but doesn't sit at the bottom. Then, cut all the way thru after the whole thing has completely cooled. - 09 Nov 2007 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
I have been using this recipe from allrecipes.com for years, and I just realized I never reviewed it. I have made it dozens of times, and without fail it always impresses. You should follow these tips that are suggested by other reviewers: 1) Lightly roast nuts prior to chopping (I always use walnuts). 2) Make 1 1/2 times sauce recipe calls far. 3) Make sauce AHEAD of recipe, and put in the fridge to cool. By pouring the cool syrup on the warm baklava it will turn out crispy. 4) Cook at 325F until browned on top (I have found 350F a little too high) This recipe, along with the Classic Tiramisu also on this site, are my top 2 desserts to make. For any function, family get together or holiday, I always get requests for these 2 desserts. - 01 Aug 2007 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
I have another tip to use for this recipe. I really wanted to use real butter, and I had so much trouble using a pastry brush to brush the butter on because it kept crunching up the dough as I painted, so I bought I can't believe it's not butter spray and dumped the contents in a cup, then I melted my "real butter" and put it into the spray bottle and sprayed the dough. This saved time and your dough won't crunch up. Then after I was done I just poured the other stuff back into the bottle. - 23 Feb 2006 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)