Orange Blossom Baklava

By Haley P. Hines • Photography by Brian W. McDonald

1/2 pound hazelnuts, roughly ground
1/2 pound walnuts, roughly ground
40 sheets phyllo pastry dough
1 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
Zest of 1 orange
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon orange blossom water

Toast hazelnuts and walnuts in a 350°F oven. Grease a 13x9 glass casserole dish. Carefully place a single sheet of phyllo dough in casserole dish. Generously brush dough with butter. Repeat, adding a layer of dough and butter until there are 10 layers. Combine nuts, cardamom, cinnamon, two tablespoons of sugar and orange zest. Evenly distribute 1/3 of nut mixture over buttered dough. Add another 10 layers of buttered phyllo dough and 1/3 nut mixture, repeating layers until all of nut mixture is used. Top with a forth set of buttered phyllo dough. Spread any remaining butter over the top and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until puffy and deep golden brown. Meanwhile, combine water, remaining sugar, honey and orange blossom water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour mixture over hot baklava. Allow to sit undisturbed on the counter until cool. Carefully cut into squares.