Baklava with Pistachios (A Break from the Bar)

Now that the Bar exam is over, I can start cooking more! I made this recipe a few months ago, as I was beginning my Bar prep. One afternoon, I had been reading for hours about offers and consideration and I needed a mental break. So I decided to try this. It was so good that I wrapped a few pieces up to bring to my fiance that night. He liked it too.
The original recipe makes a lot more. You can find it here. I cut it down and it was perfect for two people:
Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces chopped mixed nuts (I used walnuts and pistachios and crushed them finely)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
  • 1 tablespoon and 2-1/4 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon and 2-1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon and 2-1/4 teaspoons water
  • 2-3/4 teaspoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a baking dish. I used a loaf pan because I was not making much. Toss together the mixed nuts.
  • Phyllo: To prevent it from drying out, cover it with a damp paper towel or cloth during this entire process. Be careful, it will tear easily! Place two sheets at the bottom of the dish. Brush butter on the phyllo and sprinkle some of the nut mixture on top. Repeat this process, layering the phyllo, brushing with butter, and sprinkling with nuts, until all of the phyllo is used. You should top it off with six sheets of phyllo.
  • The recipe suggests that you should cut the baklava into 4 long rows and then diagonally 9 times to make diamond shapes and THEN bake (at least when you are using the standard recipe size), but I waited until after baking to cut it. That was probably not very smart, since when I cut into it, crumbs sprayed everywhere. I suggest you do what the recipe says.
  • Bake 50 minutes until it is golden!

For the sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Stir in the honey, vanilla, and lemon zest (I did not use zest). Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. This is what it will look like as it is simmering:

Pour the syrup over the baklava as soon as it is done baking. Sprinkle with additional nuts if desired!

For the complete recipe that makes 36, use these ingredients:

  • 1 pound chopped mixed nuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
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