By PATTY MAHONEY     1/2/2024

Growing up, my eldest aunt would make baklava for our extended family to share on New Year’s Day. She would use a pan that once belonged to my grandmother, who died before I was born.

According to tradition, a quarter is hidden in one of the pieces of baklava and whoever gets the piece with the quarter will have good luck for the new year.

I inherited my grandmother’s baking pan and now I make baklava for my own family to share on New Year’s Day. It’s fun to make this with my children and keep family traditions alive. My aunt and grandmother would make their own phyllo dough from scratch for this recipe, though out of convenience, I use store-bought. However, I do use a freshly picked lemon from my garden.

I have not “perfected” my family’s baklava recipe yet, but I am getting there – and my children think it’s delicious.


1 lb. phyllo

3 c. walnuts, chopped

2 Tbps. granulated sugar

¾ lb. butter


Mix walnuts and sugar in bowl.

Melt butter. With a baking brush, coat bottom of a 13x9x2 pan (I use my grandmother’s large round pan).

Next, line bottom of pan with 6-8 sheets of phyllo, one by one with a sprinkling of butter on each sheet. Then add a thin layer of the nut mixture.

Repeat this step several times: 6-8 sheets of phyllo (butter on each sheet) followed by a layer of the nut mixture. Save 6-8 sheets of phyllo for the top.

On last layer, turn phyllo edges under so that the top is smooth. Then, butter top layer.

Chill for 15 minutes

With a very sharp knife cut into square or diamond shape pieces, being careful not to press the dough as you cut.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until lightly browned.


2 c. sugar

2 c. water

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Boil water and sugar for 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and boil for 10 more minutes. Poor cooled syrup over hot baklava.

Baklava can be stored in an air-tight container at room temp or in the fridge for up to two weeks. Hidden lucky quarter optional. Enjoy!

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