Two of my recipe testers considered themselves experts in baklava. I had them both make this gluten free version. One’s feedback was, “Honey made it taste just like the gluten version. Another stated, “I’ve tried a few different gluten free baklava, and this one is the best by far!” They [gluten-eaters] couldn’t wait the 4 hours. Loved it. Delicious!!!!”
Note: This is another recipe from my upcoming cookbook, Carla’s Best 125 Gluten-Free Recipes.
You may have never imagined that you could have gluten-free baklava, but it is now a reality. The butter between the multiple layers of thin dough enables you to, once again, enjoy the flaky crust and make your dreams come true.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
For the Syrup:
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1-1/3 teaspoons lemon juice
2/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Filling:
2/3 pound pistachios, walnuts, pecans, blanched almonds, or any combination, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or cloves, optional
1 Tablespoon water
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for greasing and basting
To Make the Dough:
Make the phyllo dough as directed in the instructions. Freeze it unless using immediately. The night before you wish to make baklava, transfer the dough from the freezer to refrigerator to thaw. Refrigeration dries out the dough. Therefore, if making in advance, brush it with water to rehydrate as necessary.
To Make the Syrup:
Stir honey with water, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes. Set aside at room temperature to cool.
To Make the Filling:
In a medium-size bowl, combine nuts, sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom or cloves, if using. Add 1 tablespoon water and stir until combined.
To Make the Baklava:
Place a rack in the upper third portion of your oven and preheat to 350°F. Measure the inside of a 9 x 9-inch baking dish so you’ll know how wide to roll your dough. Butter the inside of the dish with melted butter and set aside.
Divide the dough into four pieces. Roll out three pieces of dough to about 8 x 8 inches (1/2-inch shorter than the width of the dish) on a potato starch-dusted, non-skid surface. (A silicone baking mat is ideal.) Freeze one piece for another use. Freeze the three rolled pieces on a flat surface such as a silicone mat-lined baking sheet. If the dough becomes too soft, freeze for a few minutes and continue to roll the other pieces of dough.
Add one sheet of rolled dough to the bottom of the prepared dish. Brush with melted butter. Top with half the nut mixture and evenly distribute. Add another sheet of dough and baste it with melted butter. Top with the remaining nut mixture and evenly distribute. Top the entire dish with the third dough sheet.
Using a long, sharp knife, diagonally slice the dough, spaced 1-1/2-inches apart, all the way through the ingredients. Then slice the dough diagonally, in the opposite direction, every 1-1/2-inches to create diamond shaped pieces.
Baste the top of the dough with water to prevent the crust from curling.
Bake for 30 minutes, basting the top with melted butter every 8 - 10 minutes. If you desire the top to be golden brown, place it under a broiler for a few seconds until it reaches your desired color.
Remove from oven and pour about 1 cup of syrup over the entire baklava. Cover and store the leftover syrup in the refrigerator for future use. Set the baklava aside to cool for at least 4 hours. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 1 week. If the baklava dries out while being stored, drizzle with a little warm leftover syrup.