An establishment that I frequent for pandemic survival supplies (i.e., alcohol) occasionally has baklava at the cash register, tempting me to buy it every time I'm there. They charge $2.49 for 6 little pieces the size that I made here. It wasn't just my usual cheapness that motivated me to make these: I've made the sheet pan style baklava before, and wanted to try my hand at this style. It turns out that making one roll isn't too bad. But, about 10 rolls in, I was starting to regret the decision to make these: this is labor-intensive, if only because this recipe creates such a large number of these little baklava nuggets. I got 104 out of the recipe below.
Here's a fun fact: light butter can't be clarified! I tried making clarified butter for this recipe by heating it on the stove, on low heat, then scooping off the foam and pouring it through a sieve with cheesecloth. But, while it foamed up, it never clarified. But, no harm done. At least I get to say that I made it somewhat healthier.
2 cups pistachios + 1/4 cup pistachios (garnish)
1 tablespoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup light butter
1 pound filo dough (32 - 9” x 14” sheets)
1. Grind powdered cinnamon together with juniper berries until they form a powder together. Pulse 2 cups of pistachios in a food processor until broken down in small chunks. Blend pistachios together with cinnamon, juniper berries, and honey.
2. Defrost filo dough in the refrigerator. Carefully unroll the filo dough and remove 2 sheets. Gently brush with melted butter from edge to edge. Scoop enough pistachio mixture to form a line about 1/4" (6 mm) wide near the edge of the sheet. Carefully lift the edge of the sheet (I used a bench scraper) and roll as tightly as you can. Place the roll on a baking sheet, seam side down.
3. Repeat for remaining filo dough and pistachio mixture. Place rolls on baking sheets, and brush the tops generously with melted butter. Bake at 400°F (204°C) for 20 minutes. NOTE: other similar recipes I've seen had these baking for 30 minutes or more, which will surely burn them.
4. Cut rolls into equal-sized pieces. Place pieces in a sheet or container with walls as high as the rolls.
5. Dissolve sugar into 1 cup of water. Heat until fully dissolved. Blend in lemon juice.
6. Pour sugar mixture over the top of the baklava pieces. Allow to rest for a few hours, ideally overnight. Scoop liquid that seeps out over the top of the pieces periodically as the sugar starts to harden.
7. Grind remaining pistachios into a powder and sprinkle over the top of the rolls.