Having been brought up with a Greek heritage, one thing I have come to appreciate is the great food Greeks make. Baklava is a type of honey pastry and is also a Greek delicacy that I have enjoyed my whole life. To truly call myself Greek, I baked this easy dessert!
One 16 ounce package phyllo dough
1 pound chopped nuts of your choice
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.
2. Chop nuts and toss them in with the cinnamon. Set that aside.
3. Unroll the phyllo dough. Cut the whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover the phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep it from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in the pan, and butter them thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top it with two sheets of dough, butter, and nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 to 8 sheets deep.
4. Using a sharp knife, cut the layers into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut it into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts.
5. Bake it for about 50 minutes, or until the baklava is golden and crisp.
6. Make the sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until the sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
7. Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let it cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.