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Baklava

1-pound package frozen filo dough, 20 sheets, 14x22 inches; thawed five hours

1 lb roasted, unsalted walnuts, coarsely chopped or ground.
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground cloves

Since the chopped walnuts I buy are pretty big pieces, I stick the walnuts in a
blender and chop them up--leaving some big pieces around, but mostly chopped
pretty fine. I have to put them in the blender in 1/4 lb batches
to get them to chop right at all. Then I hand mix the nuts and
all the other ingredients in a bowl.


Syrup

1 cup honey (orange blossom honey is recommended)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 small pieces of lemon peel
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick.

Combine all of the above in a saucepan, and let simmer for 10
minutes. Let cool. Discard peels and cinnamon stick.


Assembly

1 lb filo dough
3/4 lb butter
Nut Filling (above)
Syrup (above)

Melt the butter. Unwrap the filo dough--fold it in half, like the
pages of a book (the Fillo brand comes like this already). Turn
down one "page" of filo dough onto the cookie sheet and brush it
with butter (careful, the pages are delicate stuff; if they tear
a little, it'll still be fine, really). Keep the rest of the pages
covered with wax paper (comes in the package), plastic wrap, or a
dry kitchen towel while you butter the turned down page. Continue
turning down pages and buttering them until 1/3 have been used (13
pages or so for the 20-sheet filo dough; since it's folded, you
really have 40 pages). Once you have 1/3 buttered, cover the top
of the buttered pages with half of the nut filling. Then turn down
and butter another 1/3 of the pages. Once that second 1/3 is
buttered, put the rest of the nut filling on top of them. Continue
turning over pages and buttering them until they're all turned
over, buttered, and lying on top of the stack. With a sharp knife,
score the pastry into diamonds, squares, and rectangles. I find
having two people butter the baklava makes things go a lot faster
(it can easily take a couple of hours by yourself).

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until puffed, crisp, and deep
golden-brown. Remove from oven and immediately pour cooled syrup
over the baklava (this is why you need a solid raised edge on your
cookie sheet). You're supposed to let it stand four hours, but
nobody does this. When cool, cut through to the bottom layer on
those scored cuts.

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