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    Christmas with the Bees

    Christmas with Bees Preston_D_MG_3106

    In this file photo, beekeeper Preston Pouteaux is seen in his back yard with the bee hives. File Photo by Jeremy Broadfield

    Beekeeper Preston Pouteaux fondly remembers this baklava recipe from his childhood.
    “It was just cut from a magazine, but when my mom would pull it out and start to buy the ingredients, it was a sign that Christmas was getting closer,” said Pouteaux.
    To make this sticky dessert extra special, his family would only make it at Christmas.
    “It made the season extra special and memorable,” he said.
    Befitting the season, baking the dessert was a family affair.
    “My dad would separate the phyllo pastry, my sister would brush on the butter, I would sprinkle nuts, and my mom would add the honey.
    “Together we would count the layers,” he said, “it felt like such fun family project.”
    Pouteaux said that to this day he and his family love baklava.
    “It carries with it memories of laughter and love. That’s what Christmas is supposed to be all about,” he said.
    The baklava has an added significance since Pouteaux started keeping bees.
    “Today, as a beekeeper, I make honey for my neighbours and it makes me feel good to know that they might be creating their own memories this Christmas by sharing sweet desserts with those that they love,” he said.

    Baklava
    Ingredients:
    4 cups California walnuts, finely chopped
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 pound phyllo
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 cup butter, melted
    1 12oz jar of honey
    Directions:
    Grease 13″ by 9″ baking dish. In a large bowl, mix chopped walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon until blended.
    Cut phyllo into 13″ by 9″ rectangles. In baking dish, place 1 sheet of phyllo; brush with some butter. Repeat to make 5 more layers of phyllo; sprinkle with 1 cup walnut mixture.
    Place one sheet of phyllo in baking dish over walnut mixture; brush with butter. Repeat to make at least 6 layers, overlapping any small strips of phyllo to make rectangles, if neccesary. Sprinkle 1 cup walnut mixture over phyllo. Repeat layering two times.
    Place remaining phyllo on top of last walnut layer; brush with butter. With a sharp knife, cut halfway through layers in triangle pattern to make 24 servings. Bake in 300˚ F oven1 hour 25 min. or until top is golden brown.
    Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat honey until hot but not boiling. Spoon hot honey over Baklava. Cool in pan on wire rack 1 hour then cover and leave at room temperature until serving.