Baklava Christmas Star With Pistachio and Dried Cranberries
- 1 package phyllo dough (400 g)
- 250 grams unsalted butter
For the Filling:
- 2 cups walnuts, chopped
- 1 Zest of lemon
For the Syrup:
- 1 kilogram sugar
- 800 milliliters water
- 1 tablespoon pure Vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries coarsely ground
- 1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 300 F (about 200 C).
- Divide filo into two equal parts.
- Spread the bottom of a middle sized baking pan with 3-4 sheets of filo, leaving about 5-6 cm edges of the sheets to stick out of the pan.
- Crumple slightly one by one the remaining sheets of filo from the first half and spread along the bottom of the pan, one by one.
- After spreading all sheets from the first half of filo – sprinkle the first cup of walnuts, the lemon zest and then the second cup of walnuts.
- Leave 2 sheets of filo from the second half – to cover the baklava.
- Crumple slightly and spread over the nuts – one by one the remaining sheets of filo from the second half of dough.
- Fold gently the sticking out edges of filo sheets inside ove the spread sheets and cover with the 2 remaining sheets from the second half of filo, without crumpling them, the whole baklava, by folding carefully their ends inside.
- After finishing with arranging the filo sheets, cut with a sharp knife the baklava, trying to make a “star ” – first cut into 4 equal parts, afterwords into 4 more, and afterwords cut eight rhombuses – from the center outwards.
- Melt the butter into a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water (or into a microwave, without letting it bring into a boil) and pour it evenly all over the baklava.
- Bake into preheated to 300 F (about 150 C) oven for about 1 hour or until golden,as after the first 20 minutes cover with baking paper or cooking foil, so the baklava would not burn.
- Remove and leave to cool completely.
- After the baklava is already cooled, make the syrup.
- Bring 800 ml of water to a boil, add 1 kilogram of sugar and stir well.
- Lower the heat and let it boil on medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes or until about 1/3 of the syrup evaporates. The syrup shall be slightly yellow and semi thick – a drop on the thumb nail should not spill (but be careful with the drop 🙂 as the syrup is very hot!). Add vanilla, stir well and remove.
- Pour the hot syrup over the chilled baklava evenly.
- Sprinkle the rhombuses with the coarsely ground dried cranberries and the rest of the pieces with the finely chopped pistachio.
- Leave baklava to absorb the syrup at least one night (1 day would be best) without covering it for the first 1-2 hours.
- After baklava chills enough, cover with baking paper or if the pan is high enough – with a cotton cloth.
Recipe and Photo: Foodista / CC BY