Here is our recipe for Baklava, Greece’s most popular pastry and Taverna Opa’s best-selling dessert.
For the filling:
1 pound walnuts, coarsely ground, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
4 sticks unsalted butter, melted
16 sheets phyllo dough (thawed, if frozen), cut in half
For the syrup:
3 cups sugar
1 6 -to-8-ounce jar honey
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 350degrees F. Combine the nuts and cinnamon in a bowl.
Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with some of the butter. Layer10 pieces of phyllo in the dish, brushing each piece with butter before addingthe next (keep the remaining dough covered with a damp towel). Sprinkle aquarter of the nut mixture over the dough. Layer 4 pieces of phyllo on top,brushing each with butter before adding the next; sprinkle with another quarterof the nut mixture. Add 4 more phyllo pieces on top, brushing each with butter,then add another quarter of the nut mixture, 4 more pieces of phyllo withbutter, and the remaining nuts.
Layer the remaining 10 pieces of phyllo on top of the nuts,brushing each with butter; brush the top piece with extra butter. Cut into the baklava to make strips, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Then make diagonal slices,about 1 1/2 inches apart, to create a diamond pattern. Bake until golden, about1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the syrup: Bring the sugar, honey and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice and boil 2 more minutes, then let cool slightly.
Pour the syrup over the warm baklava; let soak, uncovered, at least 6 hours or overnight. Garnish with nuts.