Bourbon Pecan Baklava
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 cups bourbon
- 1 cup water
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
- 1 1/2 cups orange-blossom honey
- 6 cups ground toasted pecans
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 (16-ounce) packages frozen phyllo dough, thawed
- 2 pounds butter, melted
In a large saucepan, combine sugar, bourbon, 1 cup water, vanilla bean, and reserved seeds. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until mixture registers 225° on a deep-frying/candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and stir in honey. Strain mixture, discarding vanilla bean. Let cool completely.
In a large bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Line a 17x12-inch rimmed baking sheet with 1 sheet of phyllo dough, letting edges of dough extend over sides of pan, if necessary. Brush with melted butter. Continue layering pan with phyllo dough, covering bottom of pan only, to make 8 layers. Brush between layers with melted butter. (To prevent phyllo from drying when not in use, cover with a moist towel.)
Sprinkle 3/4 cup pecan mixture evenly over top layer of phyllo. Cover pecan layer with 1 layer phyllo; brush with melted butter. Repeat procedure with remaining pecan mixture for 8 more layers. Top the last layer of nuts with 9 layers of phyllo, brushing all but the top sheet with butter. (Trim edges of phyllo if they overhang.)
Preheat oven to 300°. Cut layers diagonally into 3/4- to 1-inch diamonds.
In a small saucepan, heat remaining butter over medium heat until butter has a nutty aroma and is dark brown in color. Pour butter evenly over baklava.
Bake for 1 hour. Let cool completely. Pour bourbon mixture evenly over baklava. Let sit for at least 24 hours before removing from pan. Store at room temperature for up to 1 week.