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Pear-Cardamom Toasted Pine Nut Baklava

Baklava Winner - Think Outside the Fillo Box Recipe Contest

Ingredients:

1 roll Athens phyllo dough sheets (1/2 box)
1 tablespoon butter
2 pears
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 up white sugar
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

butter for phyllo (as needed, about 2 sticks - but have extra on hand in case!)

Syrup:

3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup honey
1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish: grated nutmeg

Instructions:

Wrap a roll of frozen fillo dough in a hot, damp dish towel. When it is thawed enough to unroll, do so and cover with a layer of plastic wrap, then the damp towel - this will keep it from drying out.

Peer, core, and dice pears. Grind pine nuts in a coffee grinder. Zest the lemon.

Melt butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Add pears and spices and cook down for 10 minutes.

Add white wine and stir. Cook another 10 minutes. Add half the lemon zest.

Remove from heat. Mash pears with a wand blender, potato masher, or fork.

Take a sheet pan and line it with parchment paper.

Lay down the first fillo dough sheet. Spread a thin layer of butter, just enough to make the next piece stick to it all the way around. Repeat until you have 7 layers.

Spread out the mashed pears onto the seventh layer.

Add 4 more layers (buttering each one) then spread out ground pine nuts.

Add 7 more layers (buttering between each one.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Carefully, with a very sharp knife, cut the baklava into small equal triangles.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until golden.

While you are waiting for the baking to finish, make the syrup: combine all ingredients and stir occasionally for 15 minutes until sugar is dissolved and mixture is syrupy.

Immediately when the baklava comes out of the oven, pour the syrup over and in between every pieces.

Let baklava sit for a few hours or overnight to absorb the syrup and acquire the perfect baklava texture.

Garnish with the rest of the lemon zest and freshly grated nutmeg.

Enjoy your fancy pear baklava!

Photo for Pear-Cardamom Toasted Pine Nut Baklava

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