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For when you need to serenade someone.
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
splash of lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 pound walnuts
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 box phyllo dough, defrosted
1 pound butter, clarified (melted and with the top layer skimmed off)
In a saucepan, boil all the syrup ingredients until the mixture turns clear. Cover the syrup and set aside in the refrigerator to cool.
In a food processor, grind together the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon to a fine, sandy consistency. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. degrees.
Carefully unfold the phyllo dough, making sure not to crack or tear it. Keep it covered with a piece of waxed paper to help prevent it from drying out.
Butter the bottom of a shallow baking pan. You can also use a cookie sheet that has at least an inch-high lip.
Carefully unpeel the first sheet of phyllo and lay it flat and smooth in the bottom of the pan. Brush with the clarified butter. Continue layering sheets of phyllo dough and brushing each sheet with butter until you've used half the dough.
Spread the nuts-and-sugar mixture over the dough. Place another sheet of dough on the mixture and butter it. Continue to layer and butter dough until you've used up the rest of the phyllo sheets.
Using a sharp knife, carefully cut through the baklava in long, straight lines to form diamonds or squares (about 2 inches long).
Bake for about 50 minutes or until golden brown. Pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava. Eat when ready!
THE LANGUAGE OF BAKLAVA: A Memoir, by Diana Abu-Jaber, Anchor Books, 352 pages. ISBN 140077761, $14.95.