I miss Istanbul. I miss the crazy bus drivers, the open bazaars, and the amazing street food. I miss the sweets- Turkish delight, and authentic baklava.
Then again, sometimes you have to improvise. Turkish baklava is traditionally made with pistachios. That can get expensive, so a mix of almonds, cashews or walnuts are also delicious.
Syrup should be made at least a few hours ahead to let cool completely.
adapted from Gil Marks
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 TB lemon juice
2 TB light corn syrup
1 lb coarsely ground nuts, preferably almonds, cashews, or pistachios (most traditional)
3 TB sugar
1 lb phyllo dough, thawed overnight in the refrigerator if frozen
2 sticks/ 1 cup melted butter
Make syrup: Combine syrup ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stop stirring, increase the heat to medium, and cook until the mixture is slightly syrupy, about 5 minutes, or until it reaches 225F. Let cool completely.
Combine filling ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan. Place a sheet of phyllo in the pan and brush lightly with butter. Repeat with 7 more sheets. Spread with a third of the filling. Top with 8 more sheets, brushing each with butter. Spread another third of the filling. Top with 8 more sheets, brushing each with butter. Spread on remaining filling and top with remaining phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter. Use any torn sheets in the middle layer. Trim any over hanging edges.
Using a sharp knife, cut 6 equal lengthwise strips, about 1 3/4″ wide, through the top layer of pastry. Make 1 1/2 inch wide diagonal strips to form diamond shapes.
Just before baking, lightly sprinkle the top of the pastry with cold watr. This stops the pastry from curling. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake until golden brown, about 15 more minutes.
Cute through the scored lines. Drizzle the cooled syrup s=lowly over the hot baklava and let cool for at least 4 hours, then chill for at least 4 more hours. Cover and store for up to 1 week.