Baklava Bosnian-Style

Ridvana Perdue

Most Bosnians like their baklava rich in nuts and filling. This is a characteristic recipe, but instead of homemade phyllo dough it uses frozen phyllo dough available in many grocery stores.

12 oz frozen phyllo dough

3 cups ground walnuts

3/4 cup plain bread crumbs

6 cups granulated sugar

3 tablespoons butter or oleomargarine

Thaw the frozen phyllo dough. A couple of hours is plenty, and you can use the microwave to speed up the process. It is easier to make the baklava if the sheets are relatively sturdy. We are able to find it in 1 pound boxes with 13"x17" sheets, which is a convenient size. Melt the oleo or butter in a small bowl. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place a set of four to six sheets of phyllo on the bottom of a 9"x13" pan greased with additional oleo or butter. Cut or fold the sheets of phyllo to fit. If they are thin or stick together, you can add a layer or two. Press the phyllo down a bit with your full hand. On top of the phyllo dab oleo until the surface is about half covered. Sprinkle on about 7T ground walnuts, then about 1 1/2T plain bread crumbs, making a thin layer over the phyllo. Proportions are approximate; suit your personal taste.

Over the phyllo and filling add more layers of phyllo and filling, pressing down a bit with your hand after each layer of phyllo. Finally add one more layer of phyllo on top. If you have a bit more than 12 ounces of phyllo, you can put more sheets into the layers of phyllo. Press down the last layer a bit more firmly. Next cut the uncooked baklava into pieces. We cut into fourths parallel to the long sides of the pan, then a bit on the diagonal. Use a sharp thin knife. You can use your fingers to help hold the dough in place while cutting. Bake this in the oven for 40-45 minutes until it is a medium brown.

While the baklava finishes baking place the sugar with 4 cups of water into a saucepan and boil, stirring gently until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is a light yellow color. With the baklava and syrup both hot, gently pour the syrup all over the baklava being sure to cover each piece. Allow to cool before serving.