In celebration of the upcoming Greek Fest, we couldn't help but indulge in a little of the sweet and sticky Greek goodness – special thanks to Bessie Nikolaou from the Greek Fest organizing committee for sharing her family's special recipe for baklava – yum!
1 pound chopped walnuts + almonds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough*
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
½ – ¾ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Cloves (optional – but nice to have!)
*the European Pantry on Chebucto Rd has a great assortment – Krinos brand is a favourite
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.
2. Toss together cinnamon and nuts. Unroll phyllo and cut whole stack in half to fit the dish. Cover phyllo with a damp cloth while assembling the baklava, to keep it from drying out (this is very important!)
3. Place 3-4 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the prepared dish. Brush generously with butter. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the nut mixture on top. More if you want it nuttier. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with about 6 sheets of phyllo.
4. Using a sharp knife, cut baklava (all the way through to the bottom of the dish) into four long rows, then (nine times) diagonally to make 36 diamond shapes. Stick a clove into the top of each piece of baklava (this is optional).
5. Bake in preheated oven 50 minutes, until golden and crisp.
6. While baklava is baking, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in honey, vanilla and lemon zest, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
7. Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately spoon the syrup over it. Let cool completely before serving.
Greek food, music, dancing, church tours, wine tastings & more. Twenty-six years after the inaugural event, the Greek Summer Festival is proudly spearheaded by the kids who danced their first kalamatiano in 1986. For more information check out their site here.