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Maple Pecan Baklava

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Maple Pecan Baklava

Episode featured in: 
Thanksgiving Leftovers

Maple Pecan Baklava is our twist on the traditional Eastern Mediterranean dessert. Maple syrup and pecans strike an accord in this indulgent sweet that is perfect for Thanksgiving and the holiday celebrations that follow. We suggest black walnuts here for a unique flavor, but you can also use regular walnuts for the same result.  You can make this on your own, but we suggest inviting a friend over to help with the phyllo and to spend time with in the kitchen. This is enough for one 13x9 inch tray with a 2” side.

For the Syrup:

4 cups water

2 cups sugar

2 cups maple syrup

Lemon rind from 1 lemon (at least a good 2 inches or so)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon orange flower water (optional)

For the Filling:

2 cups pecans

1 cup black walnuts or regular walnuts

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons sugar

To Assemble:

3 sticks of butter

1 package of phyllo dough

1 13x9x2 inch baking tray

Pastry brush

Spoon

Make the syrup by combining the water, sugar, and maple syrup in a small saucepan with the lemon rind. Bring to a boil and simmer until it has reduced slightly and gains a syrupy consistency. It should lightly coat a spoon. Remove from the heat, and add the lemon juice and orange flower water. Allow the syrup to cool completely and set in the fridge to chill.

Meanwhile, pulse the nuts, cinnamon, and sugar together in a food processor until they are coarse crumbles. Transfer to a bowl.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and keep warm.

To Assemble: It is important to organize your workspace before you get started on this assembly process. You will need to keep the stack of phyllo covered with a sheet of plastic wrap and a wet towel as you work. It is good to have 2 people work on this together, so that 1 person can always make sure the phyllo stays damp.
Keep the butter, pastry brush, and the bowl with the nut mixture near by.

Start with a sheer coating of butter on the baking pan. Add a layer of phyllo and brush gently with butter, coating the whole sheet lightly. Repeat with another 3 layers of phyllo for a total of 4. After the 4th layer, add a sprinkle of the nut mixture onto the phyllo after brushing it with butter. It is important to lightly sprinkle the nuts evenly across the whole layer of phyllo. Layer with 2 phyllo sheets, each brushed with butter, then repeat with a layer of nuts. Follow by 1 layer of phyllo. Continue this pattern of 1 layer of nuts, followed by 2 layers of phyllo (each brushed with butter), followed by 1 layer of nuts, followed by 1 layer of phyllo, until you are done with your nuts, and you have 4-6 phyllo sheets leftover. You should have about 7 layers of nuts at this point. Top with the remaining 4-6 phyllo sheets and brush the top generously with the remaining butter. Slice the baklava in a diamond pattern by using a sharp knife (preferably slightly serated).

Bake in a 340ºF oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This seems like a wide range of time, but it is dependent on the heat of your oven. Check the baklava after 30 minutes, and then time accordingly. Remove the baklava from the oven when the top is crisp and lightly browned. Pour the cooled syrup over the entire baklava slowly, so that it can be absorbed.

Allow to rest for at least 12 hours before eating.

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