Baklava

YIELD: Makes 24 servings

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb.

sheets filo dough

frozen

2 cups

blanched almonds

ground

3/4 cup

sugar

1 tsp.

lemon rind

grated

3/4 tsp.

cinnamon

ground

1 cup

unsalted butter

melted

almonds

sliced, for garnish

1/4 cup

sugar

1/4 cup

water

1 cup

honey

1 T

rose water

DIRECTIONS

Thaw filo dough for 8 hours in refrigerator, if frozen. Unfold sheets of filo dough so they lie flat. Cover with waxed paper, then a damp towel, to prevent them from drying out.

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a medium bowl combine almonds, sugar, lemon rind, and cinnamon. Generously butter an 8- to 9-inch-square pan.

Carefully fold 2 sheets of filo to fit pan; place in pan one at a time, brushing each with butter. Sprinkle about 3 T of the almond mixture over top sheet. Fold 1 sheet of filo to fit pan; brush with butter. Sprinkle evenly with another 3 T almond mixture.

Continue to add layers, using 1 folded sheet of filo, a generous brushing of butter, and 3 to 4 T almond mixture for each, until nut mixture is used up (there should be about 10 nut-filled layers).

Fold remaining 2 to 3 sheets of filo to fit pan. Place on top, brushing each, with butter before adding the next.

With a very sharp knife, carefully cut diagonally across pan to make small diamond shapes--about 1 1/2 inches on a side--cutting all the way to bottom of pan.

Pour on any remaining butter.

Bake until golden brown (about 45 minutes).

Pour warm Honey and Rose Water Syrup over top.

Decorate each piece with an almond slice. Cool before serving.

For Honey and Rose Water Syrup (last four ingredients):

Combine sugar and the water in a 1 1/2-quart saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring. Mix in honey and cook until syrup boils again. Remove from heat; mix in rose water.