Baklava

Baklava

Baklava

Phyllo pastry layered with ground nuts luxuriating in sweet syrup is a centuries-old dessert that now exists in many variations throughout the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean.Todd Coleman

When my father made his baklava—phyllo pastry luxuriating in syrup sweetening a layer of ground nuts—the smell filled the house. Back then, I believed he'd invented the stuff. I later learned that baklava likely has roots in 11th-century Persia, though versions vary today throughout the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean. No matter what form it takes, for me, it always evokes my father's kitchen. —Diana Abu-Jaber, from "Crispy Sweet" (November 2001)