A mix of dried fruits and nuts, a splash of brandy, and warm spices make this pastry dessert simply divine. Cut it into diamonds, which is traditional for this Greek treat.
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup water
3 1/4-inch slices fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons brandy or orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups pistachios, finely chopped
1/2 cup snipped dried apricots
1/2 cup snipped dried cherries
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
1 16 ounce package frozen phyllo dough (9x14-inch sheets), thawed
For syrup, in a medium saucepan stir together the 1-1/4 cups sugar, water, fresh ginger, and lemon peel. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in honey, brandy, and lemon juice. Strain to remove lemon peel and ginger. Let syrup cool to room temperature (do not refrigerate).
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. For filling, in a large bowl combine pistachios, apricots, cherries, 1/4 cup sugar, ground ginger, and cardamom. Set aside.
Brush the bottom of a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with some of the melted butter. Unfold phyllo dough. With kitchen shears or a knife cut through the whole stack of phyllo dough sheets at one time to make a 13x9-inch rectangle. Discard extra pieces. Keep phyllo covered with plastic wrap, removing sheets as needed. One layer at a time, layer 10 phyllo sheets in the dish, generously brushing each sheet with melted butter. Sprinkle one-third of the filling on the phyllo layers. Repeat layering the phyllo sheets and filling twice.
Layer remaining phyllo sheets on the third layer of filling, brushing each sheet with butter before layering the next sheet. Drizzle any remaining butter on the top layer.
Use a sharp knife to make four straight cuts through all the layers the length of the dish to make five rows. Then make eight diagonal cuts through all the layers, making diamonds. (Do not remove the pieces from the dish). Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Slightly cool in the baking dish on a wire rack. Spoon syrup over hot baklava. Cool completely or let set overnight at room temperature before serving. Makes 35 servings.
Make Ahead Tip
Place baklava pieces between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 213, Fat, total (g) 12, chol. (mg) 21, sat. fat (g) 5, carb. (g) 26, fiber (g) 1, pro. (g) 3, sodium (mg) 137, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet