Muhallebili Baklava (Lebanon Baklava)
Unlike Greek baklava, this Lebanese version has a cream filling.
1 lb phyllo pastry sheets
3/4 lb sweet butter - melted
3 c milk
1/3 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c fine grain semolina
2 2/3 c sugar
2 c water
2 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350° F after the filling has been prepared.
1. Divide the pastry into 2-equal parts. Lay 1 sheet on a well-buttered 11 x 16 inch baking pan. Brush surface generously with melted butter.
2. Lay second sheet on top of first and butter.
3. Repeat until half of the pastry sheets have been used.
4. Cover unused half of pastry sheets with a kitchen cloth to prevent from drying.
5. Over medium heat bring milk, sugar and salt to a boil in a saucepan.
6. Add fine grain semolina by sprinkling in a little at a time, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and the fine grain semolina is well cooked.
7. Spread the hot fine grain semolina mixture evenly over the entire surface of pastry sheets.
8. Again build up the remaining half of the pastry sheets, buttering each surface generously. Pour the remaining butter over the top.
9. Cut pastry sheets into 24 equal squares. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until light golden.
10. While the baklava is cooking prepare syrup: Place sugar, water, and lemon juice in a saucepan.
11. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes without stirring.
12. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove baklava from oven. Pour off all excess butter by tilting the pan.
13. Cook for 10 minutes after brushing surface lightly with some of the drained butter to give lustre to the pastry.
14. Pour syrup over a little at a time, until all is absorbed. Allow to cool for several hours.