Baklava is one of those desserts that you see in many cultures but I think it's origins go back to Assyria. Most people have probably had it at a Greek restaurant and some might even claim it to be a Greek dessert but in fact Baklava was one of the many things left behind after the 400 year occupation of Greece by the Turks. If you trace the history of the land we now call Turkey far enough you'll probably run into a bunch of Persians at some point. Not that Baklava originated from Persia because it probably didn't but the version I like the best is Persian. Greek Baklava usually has layers of Phyllo dough interlaced with layers of walnuts soaked in a sugary syrup. Persian Baklava strays from this formula a bit by using Almonds (without skins for New Year) or Pistachios mixed with Cardamom and perfumed with Rose water. This version has a wonderful scent to it and a nice spice kick as well. If you've never had Cardamom then you're missing out. Just go to an Indian grocery and buy a bag of whole green cardamom pods. Break open a pod and chew the tiny black seeds that reside within and you'll be in for a treat. I'm not going to try to describe the flavor because I can't (I've tried), you just need to try it.

If you take the time to blanch the Almonds and slip the skins off you will be rewarded with a nicer cleaner flavor. We're not done with the recipe yet but when we get it perfected (and I mean perfected) I'll post it to my online Recipe book for all to use. For now though, I give you photos.