I decided to break my dough into 18 small balls ahead of time to make sure that I had enough dough to do all the layers I wanted. I am sure I didn’t get them as transparent as some people were able to but I was very pleased with how they turned out. My one big mistake was not layering them with wax paper between the layers. I thought that because I generously floured them they wouldn’t stick together. I even checked between layers every now and then to make sure that I could get them apart easily. And still . . .
Overall I was happy with how this baklava turned out. It was a lot of work to roll out all the sheets of phyllo dough but I’m glad I did it. Will I do it again? Not sure. If I do, I will probably use refrigerated dough since it is faster and I don’t know that people would be able to tell the difference. And as I said before, I am not a big baklava fan in the first place so I will probably use my other opportunities to expand my repertoire.
Makes 18 sheets for 9×9 pan
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the flour and salt. Mix with paddle attachment.
Combine water, oil, and vinegar in a small bowl. Add water and oil mixture to flour with mixer on low speed. Mix until you get a soft dough. (If it appears dry, add a little more water.)
Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. (20 minutes if you are kneading by hand)
Remove the dough from the mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process.
Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover it with oil. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let sit 30-90 minutes (longer is best).
Unwrap your dough and divide into chunks slightly larger than a golf ball. Keep the rest of the dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.
On a heavily floured surface, roll out each chunk of dough until it is as thin as you can get it. Continue adding flour (you can’t over flour), and it’s okay if you get rips in the dough since you just need the top piece to be perfect.
When you get the dough as thin as you can, pick it up and place it on a well floured surface. I would suggest putting wax paper between layers if you don’t want the edges to stick when you cut to size.
Trim phyllo sheets to fit in your pan. Set aside.
1 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella) 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup blanched toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place hazelnut-chocolate spread in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds or until melted. Combine hazelnuts and next 5 ingredients (through salt).
Brush 9×9 baking pan with melted butter. Repeat procedure with 5 phyllo sheets and butter. Drizzle about 1/3 cup melted hazelnut-chocolate spread over phyllo. Sprinkle evenly with one-third of nut mixture (about 1/2 cup). Repeat procedure twice with 4 sheets of phyllo, butter, hazelnut-chocolate spread, and nut mixture. Top last layer of nut mixture with remaining 5 sheets phyllo, each lightly brushed with butter. Press gently into pan. Tuck in all the edges to give it a nice appearance.
With a sharp knife cut baklava into desired shapes and number of pieces. (If you can’t cut all the way through you will be able to cut it later.) A 9×9 cuts into 30 pieces nicely. Brush top layer generously with butter making sure to cover the entire area and every edge.
**Make syrup while baklava is baking**
Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes; remove from oven and cut again all the way through. Continue baking until golden brown (for me it was about 5 more minutes, for some about 30 minutes). Remove from oven.
Drizzle honey mixture over baklava. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cover; store at room temperature.
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until honey dissolves. Increase heat to medium; cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 230° (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat; keep warm. Discard cinnamon stick.