Baklava is sticky, crunchy, chewy, flaky, sweet — perfect for a quick and simple weeknight dessert. Honest! All you have to do is plan ahead.

Lightened up [though it doesn’t taste light], this baklava is replete with walnuts, pistachios and almonds, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and honey.

I halved the recipe because it would be his first — he could be one of the five people on Earth not to like honey-drenched baklava. We’ve since ravished the pan, leaving us to wish for more.

Baklava with Kentucky Sourwood Honey [32 servings]

Printable recipe

For the syrup:

1 1/2 c honey [I used KY sourwood, but any honey you like will work]

1/2 c water

1 T fresh lemon juice

3 whole cloves

1 – 3″ cinnamon stick

+ + + +

For the filling:

3/4 c unsalted pistachios, finely chopped [salted is okay, too]

2/3 c unsalted almonds, finely chopped

1/2 c walnuts, finely chopped

1/4 c sugar

3/4 t ground cinnamon

1/4 t ground cardamom

1/8 t salt

24 (14 x 9″) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed in the refrigerator overnight

To prepare syrup, combine honey, 1/2 c water, juice, cloves and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until honey is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium; cook, without stirring, until a thermometer registers 230° F, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; keep warm. Remove solids with a slotted spoon; discard.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

To prepare filling, combine pistachios, almonds, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and salt; set aside.

Lightly coat a 13 x 9″ baking dish with cooking spray. Working with 1 phyllo sheet at a time (cover remaining dough with a slightly damp paper towel to prevent drying), place 1 phyllo sheet lengthwise in bottom of prepared pan, allowing end of sheet to extend over edges of dish; lightly coat with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with 5 phyllo sheets and cooking spray for a total of 6 layers. Sprinkle phyllo evenly with 1/3 of nut mixture (about 2/3 c). Repeat procedure with phyllo, cooking spray, and nut mixture 2 more times. Top last layer of nut mixture with remaining 6 sheets phyllo, each one lightly coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat top phyllo sheet with cooking spray; press baklava gently into pan. Sprinkle baklava surface with 1 T water.

Make 3 even lengthwise cuts and 7 even crosswise cuts to form 32 portions using a sharp knife. Bake 30 minutes, or until the phyllo is golden brown. Remove from oven. Drizzle honey mixture evenly over baklava. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Store covered at room temperature.

*To make the weeknight version: Cook the honey mixture and chop the nuts several hours or even the night ahead; warm the honey mixture before pouring over finished baklava. You could even splurge and buy the pre-chopped nuts if you really want a quick fix. From here, assemble and bake as noted above. Voila, warm and sticky baklava in less than 45 minutes!

Adapted from Cooking Light