Muriel’s Baklava

This is a seriously cool treat, no pun intended…

I am fortunate to be friends with Muriel Anderson on Facebook. As a guitarist and guitar maker, I’ve known of Muriel for a long time now. If you’ve not heard of her, (And I know all my music friends have!), She’s arguably among the royalty of guitarist/composers this county has produced.

Muriel’s Music For Life Alliance is focused on making music learning accessible to young people who may not otherwise be able to experience the educational, psychological, and social benefits thereof. She’s released CDs, videos and books, as well as orchestral and choral works.

And as fate would have it, she cooks pretty well, too! (Check out more of her recipes on her website)

She was kind enough to share a particularly mouthwatering Baklava recipe with us; here it is for y’all to try.

Muriel is playing this Saturday, March 9, at 8:00pm in Maryville, Tennessee. If you’re lucky enough to be able to attend, you’ll get your very own hunk of this recipe, with East Tennessee honey, handmade by Muriel! The concert will be held at the Palace Theater 113 W Broadway. Tickets and info: 865-983-3330

Ingredients

1 package phyllo dough (you can even get organic phyllo dough now)
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 stick butter (melted) *see note
chopped fresh walnuts
finely chopped sunflower seeds
chopped pistachios, (Leave some whole to sprinkle on top)
about 2 cups (1 med size jar) local honey
half lemon, squeezed
Optional: a couple teaspoons of rum

*(Don’t use margarine with hydrogenated vegetable oil – research by Dr John Hibbeln shows that hydrogenated vegetable oil raises cholesterol and can cause/increase depression by preventing absorption of omega-3’s)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325-350 degrees and place a pan of water on the bottom rack.

In a glass baking pan, layer melted butter (on bottom of pan), then phyllo, then melted butter between each layer, repeating about 5 times.

Makes sure you always keep the unused portion of the phyllo covered with a slightly damp cloth.

Now add three layers of chopped walnuts lightly sprinkled with cinnamon, then add another phyllo – melted butter – phyllo layer.

Next comes one layer of chopped seeds with lightly sprinkled cinnamon, followed again by the phyllo – melted butter – phyllo.

Add another layer or two of walnuts, followed by a top layer or two of pistachios.

Top with another 4 or 5 layers of phyllo and butter to finish.

(top and bottom layer have the five layers of phyllo, while the middle layers have only a couple each)

A final topping of a little more melted butter with pistachios is fine if you like.

Cut with a large knife diagonally to form diamond or triangle shaped pieces.

Bake about 20 minutes and check; you’re looking for a nice, deep golden brown color, which is likely to be closer to 30 min, but DO start checking at 20!

Over low heat combine honey, lemon juice and, if desired, a dash of rum and stir constantly until runny.

Remove baklava from oven and pour the honey mixture over it.

Wait for it to cool a little while if you can, and remove pieces with spatula.

BIG Thanks to Muriel – Go out and see her and buy her discs and a book or two – Enjoy!

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