I have made Baklava for about 30 years now, ever since my greek stepmother made it during my teenage years. At first it took me about an hour to assemble, but now only about 15 minutes. Here are the shortcuts to save time. I do let the phyllo dough thaw, but do not cut the dough and do not cover it while layering. I just drape the bottom half over the pan and then fold the top half over it, "painting" a thin layer of butter quickly. I use a new and clean basting paint brush, to spread a very thin layer of butter between each phyllo sheet. It is only necessary to lightly brush on the butter, not saturate. The more wrinkles the sheet has in it, the better. You just keep putting and folding the edges and that ends up making the baklava more layered and crispy. If it turns out soggy, it's from too much butter, not the sauce. Also, when you cut the Baklava before you bake it, use a sharp knife and cut to within a half inch FROM the bottom of the pan, so then when you pour the sauce into the cooled Baklava, the sauce seeps into every layer of the Baklava, but doesn't sit at the bottom. Then, cut all the way thru after the whole thing has completely cooled.
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I have made Baklava for about 30 years now, ever since my greek stepmother made it during my...