Christmas Baklava


  • Nut Mixture:
  • 2 1/2 cups walnut halves
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Dough:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed if frozen
  • Syrup:
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons orange flower water


  1. Place walnuts, pistachios, and cinnamon in bowl of a food processor. Pulse on and off until mixture is chopped but not too fine.
  2. Brush bottom of 9-inch round baking pan with melted butter. Place one round of phyllo dough in the pan; add a second round of dough. Drip about 1 tablespoon of melted butter over the top. Add 2 more sheets and drizzle with butter. Add 2 more sheets and drip with butter creating 6 layers for the bottom. (While you work keep the phyllo sheets covered with a damp, nearly dry, cotton towel to keep dough from drying out.)
  3. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the nut mixture. Top with a sheet of phyllo and drip with melted butter; repeat with 1 more sheet of filo. Add another 1/3 of the nut mixture.
  4. Place another sheet of phyllo on the nuts; drip with butter. Top with another sheet and drip with butter. Add the remaining nut mixture.
  5. Top with 2 sheets of phyllo; drip with butter. Add 2 more sheets; drip with butter. Top with the last 2 sheets and drizzle generously with the remaining butter. Cover pan with plastic and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  7. Cut baklava into about 12 diamond-shaped pieces approximately the same size.
  8. Bake in preheated oven until browned and crisp, about an hour.
  9. Place sugar, honey, and cloves in a saucepan. Pour in water. Place pan over medium-high heat and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla and orange blossom water.
  10. After baklava has rested 5 minutes, ladle syrup over the top. Cool down to room temperature before serving.

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