Hawaiian Style Baklava
This is a basic baklava recipe changed up a bit to include macadamia nuts, coconut and coconut cream added to the baklava syrup.
2 pounds phyllo dough (approx. 40 sheets)
1.5 cups finely chopped walnuts
1.5 cups finely chopped unsalted cashew nuts
1.5 cups finely chopped pistachio nuts
1 cup finely chopped/shredded coconut
1 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 pound unsalted butter (melted)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups honey
1 cup water
1/4 cup coco lopez coconut cream
2 cinnamon sticks
1 large vanilla bean, spli
Make the Syrup:
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot, scraping the vanilla bean into the mixture and throwing in the pods. Heat over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved.
2. Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally. Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and let cool. Do not strain yet, let the flavors steep in the honey, water and sugar until the baklava has baked and cooled.
Build the Baklava:
1. Grease a 13×9 pan (bottom & sides) and set aside. Mix well the nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack.
3. Set aside one full-size sheet of phyllo dough. Cover with plastic wrap.
4. Cut remaining phyllo sheets into 13×9 sheets. Actually, measure your pan and cut the sheets to match the actual inside dimensions. With a big sharp knife you should be able to cut all of the phyllo at the same time. You will most likely have a lot of left over phyllo – consider finding another dish where you could use the smaller pieces of leftover phyllo dough.
5. Carefully lay the full-size phyllo sheet into the greased pan, folding over the pan edges. With a pastry brush, liberally apply melted butter.
6. Lay a cut sheet of phyllo into the bottom of the pan, and with a pastry brush liberally apply melted butter. Repeat 9 more times, so that you have the one full sheet and 10 smaller sheets as your bottom layer.
7. Sprinkle 2 cups of the nut mixture into the pan. Lay 6 more sheets of phyllo on top, making sure to liberally apply the melted butter between each sheet. Repeat this 3 more times, so that you have 4 separate layers of the walnut mixture. For the top layer place as many phyllo sheets on top as you have remaining, again making sure to liberally butter between each sheet. Using a sharp plastic spatula, carefully fold over the large sheet of phyllo that should still be extended over the edge back onto the top, so that you can see down the inside edges of the pan. In effect you now have one big baklava package wrapped with your initial phyllo sheet. Using a very, very sharp serrated knife, carefully score the baklava into whatever shape you want. A diamond pattern is the traditional shape. Try to cut about half-way down into the baklava when you do this.
8. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 300 degrees until brown.
9. Let the baklava cool completely. Strain the syrup, then reheat until hot. Slowly pour over the cooled baklava. Cover with plastic wrap and let the baklava absorb the syrup for at least 4 hours. Can be kept refrigerated for up to a month.
Pour hot syrup on cooled baklava instead of cool syrup on hot baklava. This prevents a soggy bottom
When working with phyllo be sure to work fast and keep the unused portion covered with plastic wrap at all times, as it tends to dry out pretty fast. Also, be sure to carefully follow the defrosting instructions on the phyllo – the sheets will stick together if you try to do a “speed defrost”.