Pistachios are also known for heart-health and cholesterol-lowering benefits as being a good source of protein and having 3 grams of fiber per serving.
Using kalamata olives along with feta cheese provides a mild saltiness to this baklava. So there’s no need to add any additional salt. I just love the salty and brininess of the kalamata olives as well as their fruity, subtle flavor. Buying kalamata olives already pitted will save you time. But if you happen to buy them with their pits, there’s any easy way to remove them.
Place the olives on a clean work surface and place the back of chef’s knife on a few olives. Give the knife a slight whack with your fist or press down hard on it. This will loosen the flesh from the pit.
One last thing that was different about this recipe: using olive oil to brush on the phyllo layers. Usually the layers are doused in butter. The olive oil adds a richness to each layer, and it also helps crisp the layers.
This recipe has so many serving options. It’s perfect for a brunch and something different. You can serve it on its own as an appetizer or nestled on top of some mixed salad greens. But, watch out: It is so good that I dare you to eat just one.
Makes: 32 pieces
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes plus cooling time
1/2 of a 16-oz. package frozen phyllo dough (14-by-9-inch rectangles)
2 cups finely chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 1/2 cups finely chopped, salted pistachios (6 ounces)
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 orange, zested and juiced (about 2 teaspoons zest and 1/4 cup juice)
1/4 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
3 Tbsp. honey
Thaw the one roll of phyllo dough according to package directions. Keep the other roll in the freezer.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
To make the kalamata olive filling: In a large bowl combine olives, pistachios, feta, garlic and oregano. Brush bottom of 13-by-9-inch baking pan with some of the olive oil. Unroll phyllo, but keep it loosely covered with a damp, clean kitchen towel.
Layer five sheets in prepared pan, brushing each sheet with some of the olive oil. Crumple one sheet on top and sprinkle with one-third of the kalamata filling (about 1 1/3 cups). Repeat layering with phyllo sheets and kalamata filling two more times, crumpling one sheet of phyllo on each layer before sprinkling on the filling. Continue to brush each sheet with the olive oil.
Top with remaining phyllo, brushing each sheet with olive oil. Drizzle with any remaining oil. Using a sharp knife, cut stacked layers into 32 pieces on the diagonal. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly in pan on wire rack.
Meanwhile, in small saucepan combine orange zest and juice, wine, and honey and heat through. Pour over warm baklava; cool 2 hours. Recut into bars before serving.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens magazine, August 2016 issue. Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen at the Great Lakes Culinary Center in Southfield, Mich.