Authentic and tasty to boot, here is a time tested recipe for baklava that everyone is sure to enjoy. For those of you who prefer not to use white (granulated) sugar, you can substitute the tablespoon of sugar with one tablespoon of honey, agave syrup or organic maple syrup (found at health food stores like Basic Food in Hoboken or John’s in Bayonne). A better butter substitute you can use for the fillo is called Earth Balance. It is a vegan butter that can be found at Basic Food in Hoboken and the Stop and Shop in Bayonne.
You will need:
A medium sized casserole pan
A pastry brush
A small dowel or wooden baking spoon
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
2 cups plain breadcrumbs
2 sticks of butter
1 tablespoon white sugar, honey, agave or maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 package of fillo dough
Combine the chopped walnuts, cinnamon, bread crumbs and cloves in a mixing bowl and melt two sticks of butter in a separate bowl.
Take two sheets of fillo, each brushed with butter and stacked onto one another. Sprinkle a small amount of the walnut mixture onto the sheets of fillo and cover with two more buttered sheets of the dough. Fold the end of the fillo nearest you and with a wooden dowel or spoon, roll the fillo into a log and lightly press together to make it look almost accordion-like (the key here is not too much filling and not too much pressure on the fillo as it will break). Next, cut your baklava roll overs in two and snugly fit them into a baking dish. Repeat this process until you have used up all your filling and fillo. Bake at 350 until fillo is golden brown.
Now for the syrup!