Milk and Honey Baklava
1/2 C. unsalted butter, cubed (this can be a rough cube, ain’t got to be perfect)
1 C. walnuts
1 1/2 C. shelled pistachios
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 pound phyllo
3/4 C. sweetened condensed milk
1/4 C. boiling water
2 T. honey
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
I used a 9×13-inch/quarter baking sheet. You can also use a baking dish or even a round cake pan (but youâ€™ll have to cut the phyllo dough to shape).
CLARIFIED BUTTER: In a small saucepan, set over medium-low heat, add the butter. When the butter has melted it will begin to bubble and the milk solids will rise to the top. Using a spoon, skim the top of the melted butter and discard the milk solids. Run the butter through a small sieve or a cheese cloth to remove any excess milk solids. We want to do this so the butter doesnâ€™t burn in the oven. Set the warm butter to the side.
TO MAKE THE BAKLAVA: My phyllo dough came in a 1 pound box. I used a pair of scissors and cut my phyllo dough in half (1/2 pound). (I saved the other half in the freezer for another time.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, add the walnuts, pistachios, cinnamon and salt. Pulse until very ground, about 1 minute. Next, grab a clean kitchen towel and dampen it, being sure to wring out any excess water. Place it over the thawed phyllo dough as you assemble the baklava. (Phyllo dough tends to dry out very quickly and assembling the baklava takes a bit of time. The damp kitchen towel will help with this.) Brush the first sheet of phyllo dough with melted butter and transfer it, buttered-side down, into the baking dish. Add a tsp. or two of the walnut mixture. Repeat by buttering a sheet of phyllo dough and then spreading a T. or two of walnut mixture. Continue until youâ€™ve worked through the phyllo dough/filling. Using a sharp knife, slice the baklava into 1-inch diamonds or squares. Transfer to the oven to bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is lightly golden brown and crisp.
TO MAKE THE SYRUP: While the baklava is baking, let’s make the syrup! In a measuring C., whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, hot water, honey and vanilla extract. When the baklava comes out of the oven, drizzle the syrup on top. Allow it to sit for 1-3 hours so it has a chance to marinate! Serve.