Simple, easy, very quick to put together dessert — but you do need to let it sit overnight before serving.
I used to order this at a Greek restaurant that my late husband and I once frequented and one day the proprietor’s wife — responsible for making it every evening in preparation for the following day — was kind enough to give me the recipe. I didn’t even have to ask!
melted unsalted butter (melt approximately half a cup at a time only and repeat if or as needed)
1 package (16 ounces, 14×9-inch sheet size) frozen phyllo dough, thawed
2 cups finely chopped walnuts (traditional), toasted … or pecans, untoasted
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
Coat a 13 x 9-in. baking pan with melted butter.
Unroll phyllo dough; trim to fit into pan.
Layer two sheets of phyllo dough in prepared pan, lightly coat/brush with melted butter. Repeat three times. (Keep remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.)
Cover well but do not drown in butter or you will get very soggy — instead of crispy — pastry.
Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons nuts.
Top with two sheets of phyllo and coat/brush with melted butter.
Repeat layering with nuts, phyllo and butter 10 times.
Top with remaining phyllo dough, coating/brushing every other layer with melted butter.
Using a sharp knife, cut into triangles. Make 3 equal distance cuts to form 4 strips along the long length then make “X” cuts across two of those strips at a time to form approximately 30 triangles. (Note: triangles are traditional but you can simply cut squares instead if prefer).
Bake at 350° center/middle rack for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine syrup ingredients. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour over warm baklava as soon as it is removed from the oven.
Cool completely uncovered in pan on a wire rack. Then cover and let stand overnight. Do NOT refrigerate.
If you wish to try your hand at making your own phyllo dough: