I made pakhlava (or baklava, if you want to lose the Armenian accent) for the first time in a couple years. I grew up knowing very little about Armenian heritage, but I knew this delicious creation came from that branch of my family.
Homemade pakhlava is (of course) much better than store bought, so I recommend you make yourself some. It’s not difficult so much as fussy. After you’ve melted your ocean of butter, layer half of a package of filo dough in a pan, folding each sheet in half. Brush each sheet with butter (the clarified part sitting on top, not the thick, salty part sunk to the bottom). Mix together 1.5 cups chopped walnuts, 3 tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Spread this mix on the filo dough, then layer on the rest of the filo dough (the entire package!) in the same way.
Put the pan in the freezer for ten minutes, then pull it out and cut it into diamonds (which are much tastier than squares).
Bake it at 350F for 15 minutes. Reheat the leftover butter and then pull the pan out of the oven to spoon the rest of the butter over each square (fussy, right?).
The pakhlava goes back in the oven at 300 for another hour. Meanwhile, add 2 cups sugar to 1.5 cups water and boil these together for ten minutes. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice towards the end (but not too much!). When the golden pakhlava comes out of the oven, wait ten minutes and then spoon the syrup over it.
This recipe comes from Armenian Cooking Today. Of course, baklava has existed for ages and spread to many cultures across Asia and Europe as well, so there’s thousands of variations on the recipe, even on “the” Armenian version.