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Honey-Nut Baklava

Layers of flaky pastry sheets lightly brushed with butter and capped by a thick honey-and-nut spread are what make this native dish of Greece so popular around the world. Plan to start the baklava one day in advance because the phyllo dough needs to be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight and the clarified butter should be prepared the night before and refrigerated until you are ready to use it.

Food as Medicine
Nuts like walnuts and almonds are high in calories and fat, but mainly healthy monounsaturated fat and, when eaten in moderation, all nuts can decrease your risk of heart disease and heart attack. Walnuts are full of known anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, including rare ones such as the quinone juglone, the tannin tellimagrandin and the flavonol morin, and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (one-quarter cup of walnuts provides 95 percent of the Daily Value for omega-3s).


1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup almond pieces
2 cups honey
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup clarified butter
9 sheets phyllo pastry (preferably natural), defrosted
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Process the nuts in a food processor to chop them up. Pour the honey and vanilla into a medium bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until the vanilla is completely drawn into the honey. Add the nuts and mix with the wooden spoon until they are completely coated with the honey. Grease a baking sheet, then lay parchment paper over it and cut to fit.

Warm the clarified butter in a small pot.

Open the defrosted phyllo-dough package and spread the dough out on the counter. Remember to work fast as dough dries quickly, making it less responsive. You will eventually create 2 separate stacks of phyllo dough placed on top of each other on the baking sheet. The first stack consists of 6 sheets of phyllo dough, which you will cut in half. The second stack consists of 3 sheets, which you will fold in half.

Prepare the first stack (6 sheets), keeping the remainder covered with a large piece of foil. Quickly brush the clarified butter on each sheet with a pastry brush, one at a time, layering one on top of the other. Using clean kitchen scissors, cut the stack in half and lay 1/2 on the baking sheet. Spread 1/2 of the honey-and-nut mixture evenly on that half. Lay the other half on top of the honey-and-nut mixture. Spread the remaining 1/2 of the honey-and-nut mixture on the top. Next, coat the second stack of phyllo dough (3 sheets) with the clarified butter and fold all the sheets in half. Lay them on top of the earlier stack that's already on the baking sheet.

Place the filled sheet in the oven and bake until the top is golden and the honey is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool. Making 6 even slices, cut the entire pastry horizontally first, then make 6 even slices at a 45-degree angle from top to bottom to create 36 triangular pieces.

Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips in a stainless-steel double boiler. Stir until the chocolate is smooth. Remove from the heat. Working quickly, dip a fork into the chocolate and drizzle it horizontally across the cooling baklava.

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Makes 36 pieces

Per serving:

Calories 145.3
Fat 7.3 g
Saturated fat
3.3 g (42.5% of calories from fat)
Protein 1.4 g
Carbohydrate 20.7 g
Cholesterol 11 mg
Fiber 0.6 g

This recipe is from The Healthy Kitchen - Recipes for a Better Body, Life, and Spirit (Hardcover) by Andrew Weil, M.D. and Rosie Daley (Knopf)


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