...My mother's recipe.

Costas Papaliolios

Chop walnuts (a food processor goes too far); the chopping is best done with a chopping knife. The pieces should be fine but still recognizable as walnut pieces without having to taste them. The Zwiebacks should be pulverized either by rolling or by a processor. Mix thoroughly all the dry ingredients.

Thaw the filo dough according to the instructions and be prepared to work quickly once the package is opened.

Put the butter on the stove over a slow heat to melt it. At the same, as the butter is melting, butter a 10" x 15" pan (about 2" deep) and place about 3 layers of filo on the bottom as a base.

Sprinkle some of the dry mixture (you do not have to cover the entire surface, half covered is about right) and then add another layer of filo. If the filo is larger than the pan just sprinkle the mixture over the part in the pan, and then fold over the rest of the filo and sprinkle some more. Continue this process, one sheet of filo at a time, until all of the mixture is used up. You should still have some filo left. Cover the top with a final layer of 3 or 4 sheets of filo.

With a thin, sharp knife score the characteristic diamond shaped pattern into the baklava (about 1" between cuts). You don't have to cut all the way through everywhere at this time. You have to work quickly, however, and will have to hold down the filo on either side of the knife as you cut. After the cuts are made pour the butter (gently, with a tablespoon) which should by now be completely melted.

Place the tray in a 325 degree oven and bake for about 45 minutes (or until the filo starts turning a light brown).

As the tray is baking, warm the honey by having the jar of honey in a slowly boiling pot of water. When the baking is done, remove the tray from the oven and pour the warm honey on top. Let the tray cool for a couple of hours and then go over all of the cuts, this time going all the way through to the bottom. Carefully remove the individual pieces (a fork is useful) and set in an open dish.

Costas Papaliolios (1931-2002)