Nothing gold can stay.Gather Journal Golden Baklava
When money is no object, food goes to over-the-top places. The wedding banquet of Florence’s Marie de Medici to France’s King Henry IV in 1600, began with songbirds flying out of guests’ napkins, while dessert at the Regent’s Banquet (a 127-dish meal) in Brighton in 1817 was a four-foot Turkish mosque crafted out of marzipan. Consider our baklava, rich both in flavor and appearance (edible gold flakes give it a gilded look), a nod to these lavish preparations.
makes 20 pieces
Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with melted butter.
Keeping nuts separate, toast on a sheet pan, stirring frequently just until fragrant and lightly toasted. Cool.
Peel 3 (3-inch) strips orange zest and finely grate remaining zest. Juice orange. Bring sugar, honey, zest strips and 1 cup water to a simmer in a small pot. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and discard zest. Stir in juice, ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp cinnamon, then chill.
Pulse walnuts, dates, grated zest, fennel seeds, ¼ tsp salt, and remaining 2 tsp each turmeric and cinnamon in a food processor until crumbly. Transfer to a bowl with lightly crushed almonds.
Place 1 sheet of phyllo in pan and brush with butter, and continue layering until you have 6 buttered sheets. Sprinkle with one-third of nut mixture. Layer 3 more buttered phyllo sheets and sprinkle with half of remaining mixture. Repeat with 3 buttered sheets and sprinkle with remaining mixture. Top with final 6 buttered sheets.
Score pastry with a sharp knife in quarters lengthwise, then score on a diagonal to make 8 cuts forming a diamond pattern. Bake until golden on top, 12-15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F and bake until deep golden-brown, about 30 minutes more.
Transfer pan to a rack. Cut through scoring and drizzle chilled syrup over hot baklava. Decorate with gold leaf.
Note: Baklava will keep for about 1 week in refrigerator.