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Edon Waycott's baklava

Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Yields Makes about 22 pieces
Edon Waycott’s baklava
1

To clarify butter, melt slowly in a saucepan over low heat. Remove pan from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Then tilt pan to skim off foam; discard. Spoon butter into a small bowl, discarding the milky residue.

2

Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with the tablespoon of unmelted butter. Mix the finely ground nuts and cinnamon in a bowl.

3

Do not open the package of filo until it is completely thawed and ready to use. When it is opened and the leaves unfolded, invert a 9-by-13-inch baking pan on the leaves to use as a guide. Cut around pan through stack with a sharp knife. Immediately cover with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out. Use any trimmings, dry and crumbled, in place of some of the bread crumbs.

4

Carefully peel the first leaf from stack and place it on bottom of buttered pan. With a brush dipped in melted butter, splatter the leaf, then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Repeat with 7 more leaves. The next layers will contain nut mixture and no bread crumbs: Sprinkle the 8th leaf with butter and cover with one-third of nut mixture. Add 3 more buttered leaves and cover with another third of nuts. Build another nut layer by adding 3 more buttered leaves and remaining nuts. Repeat initial stack of 8 buttered leaves sprinkled with bread crumbs. The last leaf has no crumbs. With buttered brush, push edges of all leaves down side of pan to make a neat, rounded trim.

5

Cut the pastry into diamonds by lightly marking the top leaf with parallel lines, 1 1/2 inches apart, lengthwise. Make a diagonal mark from one corner to the other, and lay out parallel lines 1 1/2 inches apart. Make deep cuts with a sharp knife all the way through the pastry, following the lines. Sprinkle the top leaf heavily with one-fourth cup of the water or mist with a spray bottle.

6

Bake the baklava in the center of a 350-degree oven until it rises slightly and has a rich golden color, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

7

While the baklava is baking, make a syrup by combining sugar, the remaining one-half cup water, and corn syrup in saucepan and bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Allow to cool. The syrup should be warm, not hot, to pour over pastry when it comes from the oven.

8

When the baklava is done, remove it from the oven and pour the syrup slowly over it. Allow baklava to mature overnight so syrup permeates all leaves and flavor peaks. Baklava may be stored in a covered container at room temperature for four to five weeks. Wrapped securely in foil or plastic, baked or unbaked, baklava can be frozen. Place frozen and unbaked baklava directly into a 350-degree oven for 1 1/2 hours, then reduce the heat to 325 and bake for an additional hour, or until pastry is puffed and golden.

Panko is Japanese bread crumbs, available in Asian food sections . Look for fresh filo leaves in the refrigerator section of Middle Eastern markets.

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