Ever since I first went to Greece, I have loved these toothachingly sweet and nutty diamonds of filo pastry. They are divine to serve after dinner with cups of strong coffee or fresh mint tea. Makes 40 pastries.
Grind the nuts in a food processor until they are coarsely but not fully ground. Mix them with the cinnamon. Using a soft pastry brush, lightly butter the ovenproof dish. Gently unfold the filo pastry, covering it immediately with a clean tea towel to stop it drying out and cracking.
Start layering the sheets of filo pastry into a 24 x 19cm (9 ½ x 7 ½ in) ovenproof dish, brushing each sheet with melted butter before placing the next layer on top. After six layers, spread over one-third of the nuts.
Repeat step 3 twice and then add six more layers of filo pastry. Butter the top of the last layer and trim off any overlapping pastry with a sharp knife to create a neat edge. Cut into small diamonds (each 4–5cm/1 ½ – 2in square), making sure the knife goes all the way to the bottom of each.
Bake in the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 40–45 minutes until golden brown and crisp, reducing the temperature to 170°C (325°F), Gas mark 3 during cooking if the baklava looks as though it is browning too quickly.
Meanwhile, prepare the syrup. In a saucepan set over a medium heat, simmer all the ingredients for about 15 minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce by about one-third. It should be slightly viscous in consistency. Stir occasionally and then leave to cool while the baklava is baking.
Remove the baklava from the oven and spoon half the cooked syrup all over the top. Leave for 5 minutes and then spoon over the remaining syrup. Let the baklava go cold before removing the individual pieces from the dish with a palette knife.