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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pulse the walnuts in a food processor with the cinnamon, cardamom, and salt until well chopped.
To assemble the baklava, place 8 layers of phyllo dough one-by-one on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan, brushing each lightly with butter.
Spread 1/5 of the walnut mixture evenly on top (about 2/3 cup).
Add another 5 layers of phyllo one-by-one, brushing each with butter, then add another layer of nuts. The total sequence should be phyllo layers of 8,5,5,5,5,8, with nuts in between those layers.
Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava into whatever shape you desire (diamonds, squares, triangles, etc). See blog post for picture.
Bake the baklava for 50 minutes, until golden on the edges and tops. Then let cool for at least 15 minutes.
In the meantime, bring all the syrup ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove the citrus peels and cinnamon stick, and pour the hot syrup evenly over the baklava.
Let the baklava cool completely at room temperature for 8 hours (uncovered, to prevent sogginess). Then it's ready to enjoy!