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By Maria A. Pardalis

Crisp-apple weather, spiced pumpkin pie, colorful autumnal weekends, cozy-time meals with our loved ones, Thanksgiving Day — there are so many reasons I adore November! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and also the most celebrated one in the United States. It’s a time to share, to give, to be grateful for all that we have and to eat!

A bounty of traditional Thanksgiving food graces the tables of nearly every household despite your background, nationality, religion, or color. You may especially want to adhere to convention when it comes to dessert; who doesn’t like warm apple or pumpkin pie served a la mode? Pie might be the rustic pinnacle of the home cook's art, but it is also very ordinary. Why not spark your guests’ sweet tooth and serve something unique and delicious for dessert this year?

In the spirit of the holiday, I created a Greek inspired dessert that will please even the pickiest of eaters, Apple Baklava. It combines the familiar aromas of Thanksgiving with the traditional sweet flavors of classical Hellenic baking and pairs beautifully with ice cream.

Apple Baklava
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Bake Time: 50 to 60 minutes

Ingredients ~For the baklava~:

  • 17 sheets of phyllo dough
  • 6 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples
  • 1 cup almonds, sliced and toasted
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Ingredients ~For the syrup~:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Saute apples and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a non-stick pan over medium high heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until water evaporates. Another option is to place apples under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Place apples in a large bowl and mix in sugars, spices, toasted nuts, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Toss until well blended and set aside.
  3. Grease a 13 by 9 inch metal baking pan with butter. Place 1 phyllo sheet on top and lightly brush with butter. Repeat with 5 more pieces of phyllo, brushing each with butter (keep remaining sheets covered with a damp towel until ready for use).
  4. Spread ½ of the apple mixture evenly over buttered phyllo. Top apple mixture with 3 more phyllo sheets, each lightly brushed with butter. Spread remaining apple mixture on top. Repeat layered with 6 more phyllo sheets brushed with butter.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut baklava lengthwise into 1 ½ inch wide strips, then cut diagonally at 2 inch intervals to make diamonds. You can also cut the baklava into squares if this is easier. Bake baklava for about an hour or until golden brown and crisp.
  6. While baklava is baking, make the syrup. Add water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, cloves and cinnamon stick into a saucepan and bring to a slight boil. Stir until ingredients completely dissolve. Chill at least 1 hour.
  7. Pour syrup over baked baklava and asset aside to cool for a few hours or allow to soak overnight. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

Did you know…: that November 17 is national “Baklava Day”?

Kali Orexi!!


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