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In the Kitchen With Ricky: Rolled pistachio and walnut baklava is a sweet, nutty treat

By Ricky Webster For The Spokesman-Review

National Baklava Day is Nov. 17, so this week I’m bringing you a rolled version of this classic. I find that rolling up the phyllo like a cigar is a bit easier to work with and produces a fun way to serve this sweet, nutty treat to friends and loved ones.

Baklava is sweet pastry featured in many cuisines with numerous ethnic groups claiming it as their own. It is made of many layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup of various spices and/or honey. The result is a rich dish that is so delicious, it is believed to have been served to royalty.

Keep in mind this is not your traditional preparation of baklava, but is a delicious and fun take using some of my favorite parts of the highly delectable dish. Feel free to use blanched almonds, walnuts or pistachios (I’m using walnuts and pistachios for the recipe below) interchangeably to mix up the flavors and textures.

I love to serve these little baklava pistachio rolls on the side of a scoop of ice cream with a cup of tea or just as a little sweet treat midday.

Rolled Pistachio and Walnut Baklava

1½ cups nuts (I used pistachios and walnuts)

⅔ cup granulated sugar, divided

½ teaspoon kosher salt

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

8 sheets of phyllo dough

¼ cup water

¼ cup honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Spray and parchment line a half sheet baking pan.

In a food processor, pulse the nuts with ⅓ cup of the sugar and the salt, just until the nuts are finely ground. You can also finely chop the nuts on a cutting board and then mix them with sugar and salt.

Transfer the nut mixture to a medium bowl and stir in 4 tablespoons of the melted butter.

Set a sheet of phyllo on a smooth, clean surface.

Cover the remaining phyllo with a dampened towel so they don’t dry out.

Brush the phyllo lightly with some of the remaining melted butter.

Lay ¼ cup of the pistachio mixture out in a horizontal line toward the bottom of the short end of the phyllo.

Roll, starting at the nut end and trying to work neatly, until you have a tight roll. Don’t worry if the pastry tears – just patch it or push the pieces together.

Transfer the roll to the prepared pan and repeat with seven more sheets of phyllo.

Bake for about 18 minutes, or until evenly browned on top.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the remaining ⅓ cup sugar with the water and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve. Remove from the heat, and stir in the honey, lemon juice and cinnamon.

Lightly drizzle the syrup evenly over the baklava as soon as they are removed from the oven and cooled completely. Remove from the pan, cut desired amount with a serrated knife and serve.

Keeps in a refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one week.

Yield: About 32 servings

Local award-winning chef and Rind and Wheat owner Ricky Webster can be reached at Follow Webster on Instagram @rickycaker.