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Honey and Blood Orange Olive Oil Baklava
It is likely that Baklava, in its current form, was developed in the imperial kitchens of the Ottoman Empire, where the Sultan presented trays of baklava to the Janissaries, elite infantry units, every 15th of the month of Ramadan in a ceremonial procession called the Baklava Alayı. Delight your elites with this lovely dessert.
1 lb.phyllo dough
For the Filling:
6 ounces blanched almonds
6 ounces roasted walnuts
6 ounces roasted pistachios
2/3 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh grated blood orange zest
1 cup + 1 tablespoon Blood Orange Olive Oil
For the syrup:
1 cup honey (Orange Blossom or Wildflower)
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 cinnamon stick
2″ strip of blood orange zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease the the bottoms and sides of a 9×13 inch pan with Blood Orange Olive Oil. Pulse the nuts with the sugar, orange zest and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor until finely chopped. Unroll and cut the phyllo sheets in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work.
Place 6 to 7 sheets in the bottom of the pan and thoroughly brush with blood orange olive oil. Add the nut mixture then top with two sheets of dough, brush with olive oil, add nuts and repeat the process until you are out of nuts, saving 3 tablespoons of nut mixture to sprinkle on top. Add the remaining 6 to 7 sheets of dough, brush with olive oil and sprinkle remainder of nuts. So, the bottom and top of your baklava will have 6 to 7 sheets of dough. Then, using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You can also cut into four long rows then make diagonal cuts.
Bake in the center of the oven for approximately 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
Make the syrup while your baklava is baking. In a heavy sauce pan, bring the water, sugar and blood orange juice to a boil. Add honey, cinnamon stick and orange peel and simmer for about 20 minutes longer.
Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it and allow to cool.