Baklava is delicious. You cannot argue that.
Baklava typically consists of phyllo dough, honey, sugar and chopped nuts among other ingredients. This recipe from ask chef dennis however, uses mangos, apricots, orange zest and mango butter!
- 1 lb. phyllo dough (1 package; frozen)
- 2 ½ cups walnuts—chopped
- 2 cups pecans—chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup dried mango slices—chopped
- 1 cup dried Turkish apricots—chopped
- lemon zest from ½ lemon
- orange zest from ½ orange
- 1 ½ cups melted Earth Balance (or butter), plus extra to butter baking dish
- 1/3 cup mango butter
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup mango butter
- 1 cinnamon stick
- juice from ½ lemon
- juice from ½ orange (I used a blood orange)
- Coarse salt
- Finely chopped nuts
Day 1: Make the syrup
- Combine all syrup ingredients in a heavy, medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring, just until the sugar fully dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for approximately 15 minutes. You have to watch the syrup to make sure it does not boil over (remove from heat if it looks like it’s about to boil over and add it back to the heat once it has calmed down). The mixture should reduce by approximately 1/3 to ½. Transfer to air-tight container.
Day 2: Make the baklava
- Defrost phyllo dough according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add nuts to shallow baking pans in a single layer. Lightly toast nuts for 5 minutes. Cool completely. In manageable batches, chop nut mixture in a food processor until they are ground to medium-fine texture. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.*Add chopped apricots, chopped mango, spices, salt, sugar, and citrus zest to a large bowl. Combine with chopped nuts.
- Mix melted Earth Balance with mango butter. Butter 9” x 13” baking dish.
- Set phyllo dough out on work surface. Cover with wax paper. Cover wax paper with damp kitchen towel.
- Very carefully remove one sheet of phyllo dough from the stack. Cover phyllo dough with wax paper and towel. Add the 18” x 13” sheet to the baking dish lengthwise so that ½ of the sheet (9 inches) is hanging out of the pan. Brush the phyllo dough in the pan lightly with mango butter-butter mixture.
- Fold the phyllo dough that is hanging over the pan so that the entire sheet is now in the pan. Brush with mango butter/butter. Repeat 4 times (to make a total of 5 full sheets, folded over to make 10 layers of phyllo dough).
- Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture over the phyllo dough. Add 5 full sheets of phyllo dough to the pan, lightly brushing the mango butter-butter mixture in between each of the 10 layers. Sprinkle the second third of the nut mixture on the second phyllo dough layer. Add 5 full sheets of phyllo dough to the pan, lightly brushing the mango butter-butter mixture in between each of the 10 layers. Sprinkle the final third of the nut mixture on the second phyllo dough layer. Add 5 full sheets of phyllo dough to the pan, lightly brushing the mango butter-butter mixture in between each of the 10 layers (you should now be out of phyllo dough!). Be sure to brush the top layer with the butter mixture.
- Using a sharp knife, cut through the baklava to make little diamonds. Bake the baklava for 40-45 minutes, or until it is golden brown.
- Pour syrup over the warm baklava and enjoy the smell of the honey, baked phyllo dough, and spices. Sprinkle the center of each piece of baklava with a tiny bit of salt. Cover the baklava with foil. Let the baklava sit overnight.