Browned Butter Baklava
Makes about 12 dozen
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- 4½ cups sugar, divided
- 3 cups water
- 1 lemon, sliced
- ½ orange, sliced
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1½ cups honey
- 4 cups ground walnuts
- 3 cups ground pecans
- 2 cups ground almonds
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 (16-ounce) packages frozen phyllo dough, thawed
- 2 pounds unsalted butter, clarified (see Note below)
- Whole cloves
- In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups sugar, 3 cups water, lemon and orange slices, 10 whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until a candy thermometer registers 225°. Remove from heat, stir in honey, and let cool completely. Strain mixture, discarding solids.
- In a large bowl, stir together all nuts, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and remaining ½ cup sugar.
- If cold, melt clarified butter. Brush a 17x12-inch rimmed baking sheet with butter. Line pan with 1 sheet of phyllo, letting edges of phyllo extend over sides of pan, and overlapping, if necessary. Brush with melted butter. Continue lining pan with phyllo, covering bottom of pan only, to make 8 layers, brushing each sheet with melted butter.
- Sprinkle ¾ cup nut mixture evenly over top layer of phyllo. Cover nut layer with 1 sheet of phyllo; brush with melted butter. Repeat procedure with remaining nut mixture, phyllo, and butter. Top the final layer with 9 sheets of phyllo, brushing each sheet with butter.
- Preheat oven to 300°.
- Cut baklava into 1-inch diamonds; insert a whole clove in center of each diamond.
- In a small saucepan, heat any remaining butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Pour browned butter evenly over baklava. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Pour honey mixture evenly over baklava. Let stand, covered, for 2 days before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- To clarify butter: Melt butter in a skillet over low heat, and skim off foam from the surface. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until white milk solids sink to bottom of skillet. Let butter cool slightly, then carefully strain, discarding milk solids. Clarified butter will keep refrigerated in an airtight container up to 6 months.
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