This was once published somewhere under the name "Trader Joe's Heroic Baklava." I haven't the foggiest idea what, if anything, it has to do with Trader Joe's (which, by the way, is now open in Boston and New York for all you transplanted Californians on the East Coast).
Technically, this recipe is not vegan because it contains honey. A few people have asked me about vegan substitutes for honey. I think any sweet liquid such as rice syrup should work, but I haven't tried it. If you find something that works well (or if you want to warn people about what doesn't work well), let me know and I'll add your comments to this page!
A Note on Filo Dough: The filo dough I buy comes frozen in a 1-pound package. I believe each sheet is 14 x 22 inches, so that the finished baklava is about 14 x 11 inches. The package has very specific instructions for thawing, which should be followed. (Main recipe is below; keep scrolling!)
(This is the original recipe; I find it makes too much so I use 2/3 of the amount. I find it works well to dump everything in the food processor. Pecans are good, too...)
1½ pounds roasted, unsalted walnuts, coarsely chopped or ground
1 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
Combine all ingredients.
Combine in a saucepan:
1 cup honey
¾ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small piece lemon peel
1 small piece orange peel
1 inch piece cinnamon stick
Combine all of the above in a saucepan, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool. Discard peels and cinnamon.
1 pound filo dough
½ pound margarine
Nut filling, above
Unwrap filo dough and fold in half, like the pages of a book. Keep covered with a dry kitchen towel (or plastic wrap) while working (or just work fast :-)) Turn over one sheet onto 10x15 inch cookie sheet. Brush with melted margarine, using soft 1½ to 2-inch brush or fingertips. Continue turning sheets (pages) and brushing with margarine until 1/3 of the sheets have been used. Cover with half of the nut filling. Brush another 1/3 of the pages and place over the nuts in the pan. Top with remaining nut filling, and then continue with the remaining sheets of filo dough. Brush top sheet with remaining margarine. With sharp knife, score pastry into diamonds, squares, or triangles.
Bake at 350° F 35-45 minutes until puffed, crisp, and deep golden in color. Remove from oven and immediately pour cooled Syrup over baklava. Let stand 4 hours. (that's what the recipe says, but I've never been able to do it :-) ) When cool, cut through to the bottom layer in scored cuts.
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