Prep Time: 45 MINS | Cook Time: 1 HR 30 MINS | Additional Time: 8 HRS | Total Time: 10 HRS 15 MINS | Yield: MAKES ABOUT 40 PIECES
A bit intimidating and requires a lot of work but the result feels and tastes as if it came straight from a Turkish bakery. Delicious, rich, and crisp layers of buttery phyllo with fragrant pistachios – a real masterpiece!
1¾ cups (350g) granulated sugar
¾ cup of water
1 1/2 tablespoons (28g/ 1oz) glucose syrup (optional, but recommended)
A squeeze of lemon
⅛ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (more or less according to taste)
3 cups (340 g/ 12oz) shelled, raw unsalted pistachios, plus more for garnish
2 (500g/ 8oz each) packages phyllo dough, a total of 30 sheets thawed
1 1/8 cup (255g/ 9oz) melted ghee (or 1 ½ cups (340g/ 12oz) unsalted butter, clarified per instructions below, melted, and cooled slightly) (1 1/8 cup clarified)
HOW TO MAKE PISTACHIO BAKLAVA
TO MAKE THE SUGAR SYRUP:
Step 1: Combine the sugar, water, glucose syrup, lemon, and salt in a small saucepan. Take to a complete boil over medium-high heat while hardly stirring to make sure that the sugar dissolved. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the orange blossom water.
Step 2: In a measuring cup with a spout or a gravy boat, shift the mixture and set aside until completely cooled. Note that cooled syrup in an airtight container will last up to 4 days when chilled. And before using, set at room temperature.
TO MAKE THE PASTRY:
Step 1: Place the oven rack to the lower-middle position before preheating the oven to 150 degrees C or 300 degrees F.
Step 2: Add the pistachios in a food processor and pulse for about fifteen 1-second pulses until finely chopped. Shift to a bowl and set aside.
Step 3: With ghee or clarified butter, brush a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
Step 4: On a large cutting board, unwrap and unfold the phyllo. Use your hands to smoothen and flatten. Adjust the size, with the pan as a guide, slice off the excess so the phyllo will fit into the pan. With plastic wrap, cover the phyllo. To prevent drying, top it with a damp kitchen towel.
Step 5: In the bottom of the prepared pan, place a sheet of phyllo and brush with ghee or clarified butter to coat. Add 7 extra phyllo sheets, brushing each with more ghee or butter. Spreading the ground pistachios evenly on top.
Step 6: Add 6 more phyllo sheets and again brush each with ghee or butter. Top if off with another cup of pistachios. Do this for the remaining phyllo sheets and pistachios.
Step 7: Put another layer by adding 10 more sheets of phyllo into the pan. Make sure to use this time the nicest and most intact sheets. Again brushing each with ghee or butter apart from the last layer.
Step 8: Compress the layers with your hands working from the middle outwards to press out any air pockets. Then, cut the baklava using a sharp knife into diamonds (5 vertical cuts and around 8 cuts diagonally). Brush the surface with the rest of the ghee or butter.
Step 9: Place inside the preheated oven and bake for about 1 1/2 to 1 1/3 hours. Halfway through baking, don’t forget to rotate the pan.
Step 10: Once done, remove from the oven and quickly pour the cooled syrup over the cut lines of the baklava. Leave about 2 tbsp syrup to drizzle over the surface. Garnish with ground pistachios the pieces with a pinch.
Step 11: Allow cooling on a wire rack for at least 3 hours at room temperature. Then, cover with foil and let the baklava rest for 8 hours before serving. Note that when tightly wrapped in foil, baklava can last up to 10 days at room temperature.
TO REFINE THE BUTTER (IF USING INSTEAD OF GHEE):
Step 1: Slowly melt 1 1/2 cups butter over medium-low heat until the butterfat is separated from the milk solids and settled on the bottom of the saucepan.
Step 2: Take the pan out of the heat and allow the butter to rest for at least 10 minutes before skimming the foam from the covering using a spoon.
Step 3: Gradually add the clear butterfat in a bowl, leaving the milk behind. This makes around 1 1/8 cup (225g or 9oz) clarified butter.
1. To decrease the chance of crystalizing, glucose syrup is added to the syrup. This leaves baklava with a greater shelf life.
2. Orange blossom compliments the taste of pistachios and adds a subtle floral note. It’s highly recommended but skip it if not wanted.
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