Phyllo dough - 1 (8 oz) roll, thawed acc. to package directions
Chopped nuts - heaped 1 cup (I used walnut & almonds, roasted lightly & pulsed coarsely)Raisins - 2 tbsp, chopped (optional)
Cinnamon powder - half tsp
Butter - 1/4 to 1/2 cup, melted (I use a light hand when it comes to brushing with butter)
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Honey - 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract - half tsp
1) In a small bowl combine the nuts, cinnamon & chopped raisins if using.
2) Preheat oven to 350F and butter the bottom and sides of a loaf pan.
3) Cut the thawed phyllo sheets in half (lengthwise) so they can fit in the loaf pan. Work with them quickly, to avoid them drying out. So, keep everything ready and closeby (nuts, butter and sheets) so you can start the layering.
4) Layer 2 to 3 sheets of phyllo in the pan and brush the top with butter, add another layer of 2-3 sheets and butter the top layer, add one more final layer of 2-3 sheets and top with butter.
5) Now sprinkle a light layer of nuts mixture and top with 2-3 sheets, butter the top layer, sprinkle another layer of nuts, top with 2-3 more sheets, butter and nuts.. repeat until all but 8-9 sheets are left and all the nuts are used up.
6) Now layer the sheets similar to what was done for the bottom part, put 2 sheets, butter the top layer lightly, place 2 more sheets, butter and so on until all the sheets are done. Butter the top most layer with some butter.
7) With a sharp knife, cut the layered phyllo in the pan into squares (this will make it easier to make pieces after it has been baked). Bake this in the oven for about 35-40 mins, until light brown.
8) Meanwile, heat water, sugar and once all the sugar has melted, add the honey and allow to simmer for 20 mins. Cool this syrup in the refrigerator until the baklava is baked.
9) Once the baklava is ready and out of the oven, pour this cooled syrup on the hot baklava uniformly and allow it to soak the syrup overnight (uncovered so it retains it's crispness). This is now ready to serve.
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