Honeybush Baklava with Almonds and Dates
A Baklava Haiku: Fragrant honeybush Baklava tempts yearning tongue Lick the empty plate. Prep time: 30 min. Cook time: 45 min.1 h 15 m 2
- 15 sheets of phyllo dough, cut in half crosswise (should make 30 13x8.5 sheets)
- 2 1/2 c. blanched almonds, chopped
- 1 c. dried dates, chopped
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- dash ground cloves
- 2/3 c. unsalted butter, melted
- Honeybush syrup:
- 1 c. hot water
- 2 tsp. honeybush tea leaves
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. honey
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
Note: Cover phyllo with plastic wrap and a damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out and cracking.
Preheat oven to 3508F.
Brew tea in hot water and steep 5 min. Strain and allow to cool.
Prepare nut filling: combine nuts, dates, sugar, and spices, and set aside.
Grease 9"x13" pan. Lay first sheet of phyllo in the pan and brush with melted butter. Repeat layers of phyllo and brushed butter until the bottom is covered with 10 layers of phyllo. Sprinkle 1/4 of the nut filling over the pastry. Top the nut filling with 3 layers of phyllo, brushing each with butter. Sprinkle another 1/4 of nut filling and 3 layers of buttered phyllo, repeating these steps until the nut filling is gone. Use all remaining phyllo sheets (there should be 11) to form a thick top layer, making sure to brush each layer with butter.
Use a very sharp knife to cut completely through the uncooked baklava. Cut the pan into 24 squares, then cut on the diagonal of each square to make triangles. Bake for 40-50 min., until golden brown.
While baklava is baking, prepare the honeybush-scented syrup. Combine brewed tea, sugar, honey, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 min., reducing to a medium-thick syrup.
Once the baklava is golden brown, remove it from the oven and cool for 10-15 min. Pour the honeybush syrup evenly over the warm baklava and let it cool completely.
Remove cooled baklava from pan and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.