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Celebrating Mom | Pistachio Baklava with Cinnamon Honey Syrup

May 12, 2012

Friends, in case you’ve forgotten, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. A day to take time to celebrate and thank the wonderful mothers in our lives for all that they do.

We’ve all got them. Whether they are our mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers, or other women in our lives who have encouraged us as mothers do, we all have “mothers” to be thankful for. I hope that you are able to share some love with the mamas in your life tomorrow.

My mom is wonderful – a serious frontrunner for Best Mom Ever. I consider myself very lucky to have her. My mom is loving, caring, kind, and considerate. She is smart. She is generous, and tends to put the needs of others before her own. She is encouraging. She is patient. My mom is fun too. And she has healing powers. The power to heal a skinned knee with a kiss, or a broken heart with hugs and sweet words, my mom has always been there for me, through thick and thin, in good times and bad (and really, really bad). She gave me life, and she has saved my life, countless times.

Thank you Mom, for being you. I can only hope that one day, I can be the kind of mom to my children that you are to me.

Food is one of the ways that I share love with people. And a perfect way to share love on Mother’s Day. I made this baklava a few weeks ago. I have been wanting to try to make baklava for ages, but it always seemed like such a difficult, involved recipe. In all honesty, baklava is not as difficult to make as you might think! Sure, it takes some time and patience, but I can assure you that there are no crazy skills involved. I put on some good tunes, poured myself a glass of wine, and spent an hour dancing around my kitchen, buttering layers of phyllo to the rhythm of the music. I didn’t stress about any tiny tears in the phyllo (no one will know!), and I didn’t dwell over the spilt syrup on the floor that my feet stuck to for days afterwards.

And I was rewarded with this rich and deliciously sticky baklava at the end of it all. Totally worth it. Don’t even try to tell me that you can’t do it, because you can. Just don’t make the same mistake that I did, and look up the nutritional content of one wee square of baklava. Let’s just say that it accounts for an unfortunate amount of your daily recommended intake of fat, sugar, and everything else bad for you. But that doesn’t mean I stopped eating after just one square. You must know me better than that by now. 😉

Pistachio Baklava with Cinnamon Honey Syrup (from First Look Then Cook)

2 cups plus 8 TBSP. sugar, divided

2/3 cup honey

1 cup water

2 cinnamon sticks

3 cups shelled pistachios, toasted

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter, melted

18 14×9-inch sheets fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed (from one 16-ounce package)

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 2 cups of the sugar, honey, water and cinnamon sticks, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil and then simmer over medium heat until reduced to approximately 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Cool.

Place the pistachios and 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar into a food processor. Pulse until most of nuts are finely ground (the largest pieces should be the size of small peas). Mix the nuts, 6 tablespoons sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously brush a 9×13-inch glass baking dish with melted butter. Place 1 phyllo sheet folded over on bottom of dish (to fit the dish). Brush lightly with melted butter. Repeat 5 more times with phyllo and melted butter. (You’ll want to work quickly so that your phyllo doesn’t dry out. Cover the phyllo that is waiting to be used with a damp towel.) Sprinkle half of the pistachio mixture (about 1 1/2 cups) evenly over phyllo. Place 1 phyllo sheet (folded over) over nuts; brush lightly with butter. Repeat 5 more times with phyllo sheets and melted butter. Sprinkle the remaining pistachio mixture evenly overtop. Place 1 phyllo sheet atop nuts folded in half; brush with butter. Repeat 5 more times with phyllo sheets and melted butter.

Using a very sharp knife, cut diagonally through the top phyllo layer from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. Cut the top layer of phyllo into 1-inch-wide rows parallel to both sides of first cut. Turn the pan and cut rows about 2 1/4 inches wide, forming a diamond pattern. Bake the baklava until golden brown and crisp, about 50 to 55 minutes. Drizzle the syrup evenly over the hot baklava. Cool and then recut the baklava along lines all the way through layers. Serve!

See, easy as pie! If baklava doesn’t float your mom’s boat, here are some other tasty ideas to share for Mother’s Day:

Nana’s Cinnamon Buns (I’ve got a batch of these rising on my countertop right now)

Banana Bread Oatmeal Pancakes

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Red Velvet Sandwiches

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there! xoxo

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2012 10:12 pm

    your Pistachio Baklava looks so delicious ^^ Happy Mother’s Day, I think your mother will be really delighted to have you as her daughter (:

  2. May 13, 2012 12:54 am

    omgness! These look AMAZINGGGG! love love love baklava! I’m sure your mum would love it! hehe

  3. May 13, 2012 2:37 am

    Those photos look amazing and anything from our dear friend first look then cook has to be a winner. Take care, BAM

  4. May 13, 2012 9:06 am

    I want to add a baklava recipe to my repertoire, thank you for sharing! The things you wrote about your mom brought tears to my eyes! Very sweet. Happy Mother’s Day!

  5. May 13, 2012 10:30 pm

    I am so blessed to have you as my daughter! You are a mother’s dream. Love you forever!

  6. May 13, 2012 11:36 pm

    Awww Amanda – I love this very real and totally adorable shout out. I also love your photos, description and just about everything else to do with this post.. apart from possibly baklava itself. I know – what the what!? :). I am however ALL over the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and hoping to get more of those in my life shortly. Hope you had a wonderful weekend! xox

    • May 22, 2012 5:43 am

      What the what?! Indeed Em. Oh well, some things just aren’t for everyone. I don’t hold it against you. I’m glad we can still agree on chocolate chip cookies. 😉

  7. May 14, 2012 1:52 am

    Excellent job! Yum!

  8. May 14, 2012 6:20 am

    mmm that looks delicious!

  9. May 15, 2012 6:58 pm

    What a great post for your Mom! I’ve yet to attempt baklava, but I really want to after reading this post – your pictures are mouthwatering and beautiful! 🙂

  10. May 17, 2012 7:50 am

    Baklava is such a weakness for me – I’ll be trying this soon. They look amazing!

  11. May 17, 2012 2:44 pm

    Oh this is too funny, I was just writing down on my to-do list that pistachio baklava is the next thing I have to make! It’s my absolute favorite, and yours looks delicious. I love how you used all pistachios too–I used to only make walnut baklava but after trying the pistachio version, I can’t have them any other way!

    • May 22, 2012 5:47 am

      Unfortunately pistachios cost a pretty penny, but they are totally worth it, especially in this baklava!

  12. May 17, 2012 11:38 pm

    These look amazing! I have some phyllo in my freezer just waiting to be transformed 🙂

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