Friday, January 22, 2016



2 1/4 cups shelled Pistachio nuts
2 cups unsalted butter
1 pound phyllo dough, defrosted overnight in the   

1 2/3 cup water
3 cups sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more or less
In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until coarsely ground 
    Coarsely ground (or you can chop them by hand   
    until very finely chopped)
    Don't over process the nuts.  You want to maintain         
    some texture.
Clarify the butter over low heat, then letting the foam rise to the 
     top and the milk solids fall to the bottom of the pan .  This will 
     take about 15 minutes depending  on how high your heat is. 
     Skim off the top of the melted butter.  Line a fine-mesh sieve 
     with a piece of cheesecloth, place it over a bowl and pour the 
     melted butter through.

Heat oven to 400 degrees and brush the inside of a 9 X 13 inch
    baking pan with a little clarified butter.

Prepare the phyllo dough by trimming the stack of it with 
   scissors to fit the bottom of your baking dish.  Packages of 
   phyllo  come in different sizes; one won't need any trimming,
   some may need an inch or two cut off a side; and some may  
   need to be cut in half crosswise.  Cover phyllo layers with a 
   lightly damp towel, and keep covered.

Place 1 piece of phyllo on the bottom of the baking pan; brush 
  lightly with clarified butter.Layer phyllo sheets on top, 
  brushing each sheet with butter as you go, until half of 
  the phyllo is used.  Spread pistachios on phyllo in an 
  even layer, then layer with remaining phyllo, brushing 
  each sheet with butter as you go (rewarm butter if necessary).

Cut the pastry into 36 pieces, using clean up-and-down strokes 
   and rotating the pan if necessary. Make sure to cut all the way 
   through to bottom of pan. Pour any remaining butter evenly 
   over pan.

Bale baklava until the top is golden brown, and the lower layers 
   beneath the pistachios are thoroughly baked through.  To test 
   this, use a knife to lift up a corner of one of the pastry rectangles 
   from the center of the pan so you can peek at the bottom layers.
   Start checking after 40 minutes, but it could take an hour or even
   1 hour and 10 minutes.

If the top starts to get too brown before the pastry is cooked 
   through, lay a piece of foil over the top.

Meanwhile prepare the Sugar Syrup:
In a medium pot, combine the sugar with 1 2/3 cup of water.
  Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes, until slightly 
  thickened.  Stir in lemon juice.  

When the baklava is baked through, reheat the syrup until it 
  comes to a simmer.  Remove pan from oven and place in or
  on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips os syrup.  Slowly
  pour hot sugar syrup over the pastry; it will bubble up  and 
  some may overflow.  When the syrup stops bubbling, move 
  the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.  
  Serve at room temperature.

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