makes 24 servings
3 cups pecan halves
1 cup pistachios
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 2/3 cups sugar, divided
3/4 cup cooked and crumbled bacon slices
1 (16-oz.) package frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup honey
1 (4- x 2-inch) lemon peel strip
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1/4 cup bourbon
Preheat oven to 325º. Process first 3 ingredients and 2/3 cup sugar in a food processor until the texture of coarse meal. Add bacon; pulse 3 times.
Place 2 phyllo sheets in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan. Brush well with melted butter. Repeat with 10 sheets, brushing with butter between every 2 sheets. Sprinkle half of nut mixture (about 2 1/2 cups) over phyllo. Repeat phyllo layering with 12 sheets, brushing with butter between every 2 sheets. Sprinkle with remaining nut mixture. Top with 15 sheets, brushing with butter between every 2 sheets. Brush top with butter. Using a sharp knife, score baklava into 1 1/2-inch squares. Bake at 325º for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300º, and bake 50 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, combine 1 cup water, honey, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes. Strain mixture into a 1-quart glass measuring cup. Stir in bourbon; cool completely (about 1 hour).
Pour syrup evenly over baked baklava. Cool to room temperature. Cover loosely with foil; let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.
bacon recipe source: Bourbon & Bacon: The Ultimate Guide to the South's Favorite Food Groups, by Morgan Murphy (@_MorganMurphy) and the Editors of Southern Living Magazine (Oxmoor House/Southern Living/Time House Entertainment, Inc., 2014)