American Baklava

Ingredients 1 package of phyllo dough, defrosted (Apollo is preferred) 1 package bacon (or to preference) 2 Sticks of butter 2/3 cup water 1/3 cup maple syrup 2/3 cup sugar 10 oz. of nuts (select your preference or use a combination of nuts) 1 tsp. Cinnamon 1 lemon 2 Tbs. Bourbon (optional) Directions Start with the phyllo dough and defrost it based on the packages directions. Do this ahead of time according to the instructions as it would need time to defrost. Make your bacon next and save the bacon grease. Once the bacon is ready chop it up and leave on the side. Chop the nuts to your desired consistency and add the chopped bacon with the teaspoon of cinnamon and mix them all together. Also set this mixture aside. Now take the bacon grease and add a stick and a half of butter in the pan and melt them together. Unpack the phyllo and make sure to follow handling instructions as phyllo can tear very easily as well as dry out fast. Keep a damp towel over the stack of phyllo sheets to make sure it doesn’t dry out as you work in the layers. Depending on the baking dish you have (a 13” X 9” baking dish is most common) you may need to fold or trim the phyllo to fit but make sure the dish has raised edges to hold the syrup. Grease the baking dish and add your first sheet of phyllo. Butter each layer and butter in between if you do end up folding the sheet to fit the pan. The next step is to add a few layers of phyllo and then adding the nut, bacon and cinnamon mixture. You can do this to your preference but the most common is to have about 5 layers of the bacon grease buttered phyllo sheets followed by half the nut, bacon, cinnamon mixture layered over evenly them and then another 5 layers of buttered phyllo with the remainder nut mixture and the last 5 sheets to top off. This next step is very crucial. With a sharp knife cut the Americaniko Baklava before baking. Cut into squares or diamonds but make sure you cut all the way to the bottom or your pieces can fall apart when you try to serve them. Place in your preheated oven set at 325°F for 50-60 min or until golden brown. As the Baklava is baking you make your syrup. In a sauce pan add the water, sugar, maple syrup, a squeeze of lemon juice (a pinch of lemon zest if you want a stronger lemon flavor) and if you want, your 2 tbs. of bourbon. Depending on how moist you want your Baklava you can increase the syrup recipe by half so the upper layers can be moister or if you keep it as-is the top will be more flaky and crunchy. When you have all the ingredients in, heat up the syrup to a simmer for 10 minutes and then allow it to cool down just a bit. You don’t want it too cool or it won’t penetrate through all the layers. Once the Baklava comes out of the oven pour the syrup evenly over the top making sure to get it in every nook and cranny. You can add crumbled nuts on top or nuts and bacon bits or leave it plain. You decide on the décor. Enjoy your perfect American, or actually your Greek-American treat.

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