Spa Style Baklava
Baklava is normally prepared in large pans holding many layers of phyllo dough with copious amounts of melted butter, syrup and chopped nuts — usually walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios — added to the layers. The syrup is a concoction of honey, rosewater or orange flower water, and is poured over the layers until it has soaked the entire pan. Once baked, it is cut into diamond and other shapes, and served at room temperature.
Honestly, the sugary-sweetness and copious goo in traditional Baklava has always given me an instant headache. Too rich! I usually passed up any offer of baklava until I tasted this “lite” version courtesy of the Oaks at Ojai, a California Destination Spa. The spa eliminated the butter, reduced some of the fatty nut calories, but kept the crunch by blending walnuts with fiber rich Post Grape-Nuts cereal. We much prefer this version and we think you will, too.
- 1/2 cup honey (preferably dark)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 cup Post Grape-Nuts cereal
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 8 sheets phyllo dough (thawed)
- Butter Flavored Nonstick Spray
- Combine honey, water, lemon juice and zest in a sauce pan and simmer 10 minutes (OR microwave 2 minutes in a glass container).
- Add half of this honey mixture to a small blender, processor, or mortar, with the grape nut cereal and walnuts
- Process just long enough to mix, but not turn into a paste.
- Spray each sheet of phyllo dough with butter flavored spray.
- One at a time, paint 3 sheets with reserved honey mixture, using a pastry brush
- Layer the 3 sheets together and top with half the nut mixture.
- Repeat this step with an additional 3 sheets, and the remainder of the nuts.
- Add remaining 2 phyllo sheets to the top as "the lid."
- Spray the top with an extra spray of butter flavored spray extra spray and brush with any remaining honey mixture.
- Top with any remaining crumbs of nut mixture.
- Score the top diagonally, forming about 48 pieces.
- Bake at 325 for 30 to 40 minutes to brown.