Jul 10, 2018

Baklava

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
With it's buttery, crispy layers of phyllo dough, nutty filling, and sugary honey syrup, this sticky sweet Greek dessert is one of my favorites.

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With its buttery, crispy layers of phyllo dough, nutty filling, and sugary honey syrup, this sticky sweet Greek dessert is one of my favorites. The modern iterations of Baklava can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire in Turkey though the origins prior to that are hard to trace. Many different areas from Greece to Turkey and Syria have their own variations on the dessert. My recipe is based on a version I had from a small bakery after a day at the beach in Aegina, Greece.

Baklava

baklava cooking with cocktail rings greek dessert

Variations on Baklava

  • There are over 15 types of Baklava – from Greek (in which my recipe is based off of) to Lebanese, Iranian, Syrian, and Turkish cuisines.
  • I like to use a combination of half walnuts and half pistachios in my baklava.
  • Pistachio is the classic nut included in baklava though walnuts are most popular.
  • Some other alternatives are made with almonds or macadamia nuts, rose water or orange blossom syrup.
  • I make my baklava in a pan though some serve as triangles or rolled into cylindrical shapes.

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Phyllo dough – Because of how thin the layers are I find it easiest to buy phyllo dough rather than making it at home. Phyllo dough is sold frozen so be sure to plan ahead for this recipe. Defrost it in the refrigerator overnight so the dough can be handled easily.
  • Orange zest – The orange zest is the grated outer skin from the lemon. Use a zester or microplane to remove the zest. If you don’t have a zester use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to remove the rind and finely chop it.
  • Honey – Make sure the only ingredient on the back is honey! There should be no other additives (such as corn syrup or sugar syrup).
  • Butter – I always use high quality unsalted butter that way the level of salt can be adjusted according to personal preference or excluded altogether in desserts. I typically use European butter because it has a higher fat content which makes for a richer recipe.

How to Make Baklava

For the honey syrup:

  • Add the sugar, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, orange zest and 1 cup of water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil until the mixture reaches a syrupy consistency, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

For the nut mixture:

  • Add the pistachios and walnuts, cinnamon, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until the nuts are coarsely ground the divide the mixture into thirds.

For assembly:

  1. Prepare phyllo dough. Heat oven to 375ºF. Butter a 9”x12” baking dish. Prepare the phyllo dough by trimming it with scissors to fit the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the phyllo dough with a lightly damp kitchen towel, and keep covered.
  2. Layer sheets of phyllo. Place 1 piece of the phyllo on the bottom of the baking pan, then holding it down with one hand, brush the phyllo with butter. Layer 7 phyllo sheets on top, brushing each sheet with butter as you go.
  3. Add the but mixture and assemble. Sprinkle one-third of the nut mixture over top. Repeat the process twice more, brushing butter between each layer of the phyllo sheets. Top with the remaining phyllo sheets, brushing butter between each layer.
  4. Cut into squares. Using a sharp knife with a thin blade, cut the baklava into squares, being sure to cut through all of the layers. Pour any of the remaining butter over the top.
  5. Bake the baklava. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Pour the syrup evenly over the top. Set aside and let cool completely.
baklava cooking with cocktail rings greek dessert closeup

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Baklava

Print Pin
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Serves 10

Ingredients:

For the honey syrup:

  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest

For the nut mixture:

  • 8 ounces shelled pistachios, shelled
  • 8 ounces halved walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For Assembly:

  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for the pan
  • 1 pound phyllo dough, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator 

Instructions:

For the honey syrup:

  • Add the sugar, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, orange zest and 1 cup of water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil until the mixture reaches a syrupy consistency, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

For the nut mixture:

  • Add the pistachios and walnuts, cinnamon, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until the nuts are coarsely ground the divide the mixture into thirds.

For assembly:

  • Heat oven to 375ºF. Butter a 9”x12” baking dish. Prepare the phyllo dough by trimming it with scissors to fit the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the phyllo dough with a lightly damp kitchen towel, and keep covered.
  • Place 1 piece of the phyllo on the bottom of the baking pan, then holding it down with one hand, brush the phyllo with butter. Layer 7 phyllo sheets on top, brushing each sheet with butter as you go.
  • Sprinkle one-third of the nut mixture over top. Repeat the process twice more, brushing butter between each layer of the phyllo sheets. Top with the remaining phyllo sheets, brushing butter between each layer.
  • Using a sharp knife with a thin blade, cut the baklava into squares, being sure to cut through all of the layers. Pour any of the remaining butter over the top.
  • Bake until the top is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Pour the syrup evenly over the top. Set aside and let cool completely.

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