1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups walnut halves
1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 lightly beaten egg
11 sheets (16 x 24-inch) frozen phyllo dough (about 1/2 pound), thawed according to package directions
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks/6 oz./170g) melted, unsalted butter
Lightly whipped cream, for garnish
For the Syrup:
Can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. In a small, heavy saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring until the sugars dissolve. Continue boiling the mixture for 1 minute, brushing the sides of the pan frequently with a wet pastry brush to keep the sugar from crystallizing. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the syrup completely. Cover and store at room temperature until ready to use.
For the Filling and To Assemble and Bake:
In a food processor, pulse the walnut halves, chocolate pieces, raisins, sugar and cinnamon until coarsely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl; mix in the egg. Set aside.
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F/180°C. Lightly butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan.
Place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface. Keep remainder covered with plastic and a damp towel to prevent drying. Brush the top of the phyllo sheet with butter. Top with a second phyllo sheet; brush with butter. Place sheets, buttered side up and lengthwise, in prepared pan, covering bottom, ends and sides of the pan. Brush another phyllo sheet with butter. Fold phyllo sheet in half, forming an 8 x 12-inch rectangle; brush the top with butter.
Repeat the buttering and folding with 2 more phyllo sheets. Stack the 3 folded phyllo sheets in bottom of pan, buttered side up. Sprinkle half of the filling over the phyllo. Butter another phyllo sheet, fold in half, butter the top and place on top of the filling. Sprinkle remaining filling over the phyllo. Repeat the buttering and folding with 3 more phyllo sheets. Stack on top of filling. Butter the last 2 phyllo sheets. Stack lengthwise in pan, tucking the sides and ends of the top and bottom sheets to enclose the filling completely. Carefully cut through the top layers of phyllo (do not cut through filling) 4 x 6 to mark twenty-four 2 x 2-inch squares. Pour any remaining butter over top.
Bake at 350°F/180°C until top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately spoon syrup over baklava. Cool baklava completely; cover and let it stand at room temperature overnight. When ready to serve, cut and drizzle lightly whipped cream over the top.
Makes 24 pieces.
Date: August 22, 2006