Duff Goldman based this recipe for rolled baklava on one from his Moldovan great grandmother. She was an amazing baker and when she made baklava everyone from the neighborhood would come over to enjoy a piece. Instead of spreading the filling over the phyllo, she would make a paste then roll it in the dough, resulting in the most delicious center. To add more crunch and texture to the baklava, Duff sprinkles the phyllo with toasted panko that’s sweetened with sugar, yielding flakier layers.
For the honey syrup: Combine the honey, granulated sugar, lemon juice, salt, sliced ginger, anise and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, for the baklava: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Brush 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter evenly all over a 9-by-9-inch baking pan.
Melt the 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small saute pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the panko and granulated sugar. Toast, stirring often, for a few minutes until slightly golden. Remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl.
Add the dates, raisins, brown sugar, orange blossom water, cinnamon, ground ginger and salt to a food processor and pulse until the dried fruit is finely chopped. Add the almonds and process again until just combined. Transfer to a clean work surface and roll into eight thin 10-inch-long logs.
Lay one sheet of phyllo onto a clean surface and lightly brush with some of the remaining melted clarified butter. Lay a second sheet of phyllo directly on top of the first, brush with more clarified butter and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of the panko mixture. Fold the phyllo sheets in half crosswise; place one of the date logs at the short end of the sheets and begin to roll the dough over the date log, continuing until the entire phyllo sheet has been rolled. You will end up with a phyllo cigar.
Transfer the cigar to the prepared baking pan and lay horizontally. Brush the top lengthwise with some of the remaining melted clarified butter and repeat the process with the remaining phyllo and date logs. You will need 8 cigars to fill the pan. Brush the baklava with some of the remaining clarified butter once again. Using a sharp knife, slice vertically down in three equal sections, creating twenty-four 3-inch pieces. Bake until the baklava are golden brown, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Baste the baklava with the remaining clarified butter at 30 and 45 minutes into the baking time. Rotate the pan 180 degrees halfway through the baking.
Strain the solids from the honey syrup and discard. Pour the syrup over the hot baklava immediately after removing from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes to soak up all the syrup.
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