I’ve gotten quite a few requests for this and since it is a Greek dessert and it is the holiday season. Here goes: My mom’s recipe for baklava.

At least, what I am able to decipher and turn into an actual recipe as opposed to scribble and transform 1 cup into measurements instead of 1 cup= this cup I’ve had in my kitchen for my whole life. 

To make the syrup, you will need:
2/3 cup honey
1 stick of cinnamon
Half a lemon
Water- is to the mid level of your pot- you’ll see what I mean in the directions below.

Directions for Syrup.
Add the water to your pot on the stove top and allow it to come to a boil, once it does, bring it down to a simmer and then add the honey. Once you feel like the honey is mixed in, add the half a lemon and the cinnamon. You will see the syrup start to turn a little brown, at this point, it is done. You can choose to use the syrup when it is warm or allowed to cool. I recommend warm- and warm by my mom’s standards is similar to a baby bottle, it has been allowed to cool but you can touch your wrist to the side of the pot and not get burned.

For baklava:
3 cups whole natural almonds, roasted
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 -pound package phyllo dough, thawed for 15 to 30 minutes if frozen

Directions for Baklava:
Preheat your oven to 350F.
The almonds can be cut in a food processor or they can be cut with a hand chopper. My mom prefers them to not be too fine so you still get the chunkyness.
Then mix the almonds with the sugar, cinnamon, all spices and salt. You can do this in a food processor or you can do this by hand with a spoon, as my mom does.

Using a brush, cover the baking dish with melted butter. Typically we use a metal dish but I have seen glass work as well. The key is finding a dish that is the same size as your sheet of Filo dough so you don’t have to try to piece together one and a half sheets to cover the length of the pan.

greek baltimore baklava, baltimore baklava greek, bellydance by amartia
The “system” is this. 2 sheets of filo, brush with melted butter, add roughly a cup of the almonds, and repeat. This will go on until you’ve filled the pan or you run out of almonds. My mom typically uses the brush to “flick” some melted butter onto the almonds as well in order to make sure it doesn’t get too dry. Once you are done, brush the top layer with butter.

At this point in time you have to cut it. There is no cutting it after it’s baked. Using a sharp knife you can cut diagonally to make triangles or you can cut across horizontally and vertically to make squares- it’s up to you, as long as you make it all the way to the bottom for a clean cut.

Bake the baklava in the oven, in the center rack until golden brown. This typically takes about an hour- but all ovens are different so make sure to keep an eye on it.

Take it out of the oven, allow it to cool, then pour the syrup over it slowly. Again, the amount of syrup is to taste. My mom says that baklava “drinks” syrup so sometimes she will re-syrup it a few hours later before she takes each of the pieces and puts them in a paper baking cup to serve.

I hope that I’ve given you enough details to get started on your own baklava making adventure. Feel free to post photos of your attempts and finished products! I am also always available for taste testing!