Baklava is a Middle Eastern and Eastern European dessert made by layering sheets of phyllo with chopped nuts and soaking the pastry with a sweetened syrup. This recipe is for a Turkish variation of baklava, three layers of buttered phyllo surrounding two layers of pistachios.
Each sheet of phyllo is buttered as it is laid in the baking dish. You can use 1 pound of clarified butter (ghee) or heat unsalted butter and remove the top foamy, whitish layer to clarify it yourself. If you use unsalted butter, you may need about 1 extra stick (1/2 cup) of butter.
I used 2 9×13″ baking dishes. My phyllo sheets came in a long 18×14″ roll, so I cut them in half to fit. When you are working with each sheet, cover the rest with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out. Dried out phyllo is nearly impossible to work with.
The syrup should be completely cooled when pouring over the hot baklava. It helps to pour the syrup into another bowl and refrigerate to cool faster while putting together the rest of the baklava.
This dish takes a bit of time to put together and rests in the refrigerator overnight, but it makes a lot of baklava and is perfect for feeding a crowd.