Baklava Recipe #EatLikeAnEgyptian

How to make baklava | All that's Jas

Filo dough sheets filled with ground nuts and drenched in syrup make baklava

Baklava

Don’t you just love baklava? The making of this rich, popular Mediterranean dessert might seem daunting, but it really is a simple process.

Since I never enjoyed baking as much as cooking I made my first baklava when I was well into my 40’s.Β  I don’t know why I was so intimidated by it, it’s not at all as difficult as I thought it would be. So don’t make the same mistake and wait. Make it now! If I can do it, you can do it too.

What is Baklava?

This is a sweet dessert with layers of filo a.k.a. phyllo pastry sheets filled with chopped or ground walnuts and held together with lemony syrup. There’s nothing better than homemade baklava.


The easiest way to prepare it is in a large pan (9×13″) assembled much like a lasagna and cut into squares or diamonds, although you can form it into pocket shapes, triangles, and even roll them into tight ropes.

Even though there are different kinds of baklava – baklava filled with pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, coconut, chocolate, Β with fruit, with beer (yes), and poppy or sesame seeds, it all comes down to filled pastry sheets drenched in syrup. And sometimes placed on top of a cheesecake, ha. I had to πŸ˜‰

Obviously, the syrup can differ too. To the base, you can add flavors like lemon, orange juice, honey, rose water, or spices like cinnamon or cloves.

Some very skilled people make the filo dough from scratch, much like the dough I used in the making of the burek-meat pie but stretched even thinner. I never got that ambitious with baklava so I stick to the store bought filo dough. Β The most popular brands are The Fillo Factory and Athens Fillo Dough. You can find it at any local store and even at Whole Foods or online.

Origin of Baklava

The history of baklava is not well documented but the masses seem to agree baklava was first developed in Ottoman Empire, now Turkey. Since they ruled for centuries over parts of Europe, Asia, the Caucasus, and Africa, baklava consequently stayed and is to date a popular and favorite dessert of the Mediterranean, The Balkans, and the Middle East.

Each country has added something unique to their baklava recipe, hence the many variations. Some place the filling right in the middle of the pastry sheets, rather than layering them intermittently and others, like the Greek version, yield the syrup and their baklava is crisp and flaky. All things considered, I have never tasted a bad baklava.

How to Cut Baklava

As mentioned above, there are different shapes you can cut it in, but we will stick with the basics for now. Once you feel comfortable with making this dessert you can invent your own unique cut. Always cut baklava before baking!

How to cut baklava into squares, triangles, and diamonds

 

  1. Square Cut: First, cut vertically into strips then horizontally, or vice versa
  2. Triangle Cut: First, cut vertically into strips, then horizontally, and finally diagonally
  3. Diamond Cut: First, cut vertically into strips, then diagonally
  4. Star Cut (round pan): First, slice it in half. Second, cut each half in half, then each quarter in half until you have an octagon. Next, cut each octagon section parallel with a left line. Finally, cut each octagon section parallel with a right line (basically making diamond cuts).

 

How to cut baklava into a star shape

Round baklava cut into a star shape

How to Make Baklava

Learn how to make #homemade #baklava with this easy #recipe Click To Tweet

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 16 oz. (1 package) Phyllo dough – pastry sheets, thawed
  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter, melted

Syrup

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lemon, sliced

 

~ Free Tip ~

Variations: Substitute half of the walnuts with pistachios. Use ghee instead of butter. Add 2 tablespoons of honey to the syrup. Add 1 tablespoon rose water to the cooked syrup.

 

Directions:

  1. First, make the syrup. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, lemon slices, and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar dissolves and the mixture is syrupy about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Next, in a food processor pulse walnuts until finely chopped or ground. You can also use a rotary grater if you have one. In a large bowl, combine walnuts with cinnamon, cardamom if using, and sugar.
  3. Unroll phyllo dough. Trim the whole stack, if necessary, to fit the 13×9-inch pan. The easiest way to do this is with a pair of scissors. Cover phyllo sheets with a clean cloth to keep from drying out as you work. If you work fast enough, you don’t need to cover it.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of a pan.
  5. Place 1 sheet of dough in prepared baking pan; using a pastry brush, butter thoroughly. Repeat with 4 more sheets of phyllo, laying each on top of the other. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of walnut filling. Add two sheets of phyllo dough, buttering each sheet, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup of nuts. Repeat until filling is used up, finishing with 5 sheets of phyllo dough on top. So it goes like this: 5 buttered sheets + filling, 2 buttered sheets + filling, repeat…, finish with 5 buttered sheets.
  6. Using a sharp knife cut the unbaked baklava into squares or diamonds all the way to the bottom of the pan. Pour remaining butter over the whole baklava and lightly sprinkle the top of pastry with cold water. This inhibits the pastry from curling.
  7. Finally, bake baklava for 50-60 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and immediately spoon syrup over it.
  8. Let cool for at least 4 hours.

Making baklava layers

pouring lemony syrup over baklava

the best Baklava recipe

Servings of baklava

Baklava Recipe

Baklava Recipe

Love baklava? Make this rich, popular Mediterranean dessert with layers of filo (phyllo) pastry sheets filled with chopped nuts and held together with syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 16 oz. (1 package) Phyllo dough - pastry sheets, thawed
  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
  • .
  • Syrup
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lemon, sliced

Directions

First make the syrup. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, lemon slices, and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar dissolves and the mixture is syrupy about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Next, in a food processor pulse walnuts until finely chopped or ground. You can also use a rotary grater if you have one. In a large bowl, combine walnuts with cinnamon, cardamom if using, and sugar.

Unroll phyllo dough. Trim the whole stack, if necessary, to fit the 13x9-inch pan. The easiest way to do this is with a pair of scissors. Cover phyllo sheets with a clean cloth to keep from drying out as you work. if you work fast enough, you don't need to cover it.

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of a pan.

Place 1 sheet of dough in prepared baking pan; using a pastry brush, butter thoroughly. Repeat with 4 more sheets of phyllo, laying each on top of the other. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of walnut filling. Add two sheets of phyllo dough, buttering each sheet, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup of nuts. Repeat until filling is used up, finishing with 5 sheets of phyllo dough on top. So it goes like this: 5 buttered sheets + filling, 2 buttered sheets + filling, repeat..., finish with 5 buttered sheets.

Using a sharp knife cut the unbaked baklava into squares or diamonds all the way to the bottom of the pan. Pour remaining butter over the whole baklava and lightly sprinkle the top of pastry with cold water. This inhibits the pastry from curling.

Finally, bake baklava for 50-60 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and immediately spoon syrup over it.

Let cool for at least 4 hours.

Notes

~ Free Tip ~

Variations: Substitute half of the walnuts with pistachios. Use butter ghee instead of butter. Add 2 tablespoons honey to the syrup. Add 1 tablespoon rose water to the cooked syrup.

https://all-thats-jas.com/baklava-recipe

Welcome to #EatLikeAnEgyptian!
Today we are having fun exploring our favorite Egyptian cuisine recipes to commemorate the holiday of Eid-el-Fitr, which begins at sundown.

Pin It: The Best Baklava Recipe

Baklava is a popular dessert in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Balkan cuisine made of layers of filo dough pastry sheets, ground nuts and held together with syrup.

See this recipe featured on A Pinch of Joy.

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Jas

publisher and creative director at All that's Jas
Jas is a cheesecake addict and the author of Balkan Comfort Food cookbook available on Amazon. You can download a free excerpt of the book when you subscribe to All that's Jas newsletter updates. To learn more about Jas visit her About page.
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54 Comment

  1. Reply
    Teresa
    July 14, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Such a delicious sweet. I’ve eaten it from bakeries and restaurants and loved it, but never made my own. Thank you for sharing your recipe with us at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty!
    Teresa recently posted…101 Healthy Snack Ideas Sure to Satisfy even the Pickiest Palate!My Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      July 16, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      I hope you will give it a try someday, Teresa! πŸ™‚

  2. Reply
    Carol ("Mimi")
    July 10, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    This is one of my all-time favorite desserts. The Greek Orthodox Church in our city does a festival every year where they serve the most amazing baklava. Makes my mouth water just to think about it. Thank you for linking up at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I’m sharing your link on social media.
    Carol (β€œMimi”) from Home with Mimi
    Carol (“Mimi”) recently posted…Summer Container Flowers UpdateMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      July 12, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      Isn’t it? I also look forward to the Greek and Serb festival each year in our city. That means baklava twice a year that I don’t have to make, lol.

  3. Reply
    Ai @Ai made it for you
    July 4, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Your baklava looks divine!! I’ve only had it a couple of times but I love baklava, but I’ve never attempted to make it myself. Happy Fiesta Friday!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      July 4, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      Thank you! Perhaps I can inspire you to make it someday πŸ˜€

  4. Reply
    Grammy Dee from Grammy's Grid
    July 4, 2017 at 1:24 am

    I love baklava although I’ve never tried to make it. Thank you Jas for linking up at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I shared this post.
    Grammy Dee from Grammy’s Grid recently posted…Happy 4th of July 2017!My Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      July 4, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      Thank you, Grammy Dee!

  5. Reply
    Parsimonious DΓ©cor Darling
    July 3, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    I absolutely adore baklava…yummmmm. Thank you for sharing this easy how-to.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      July 4, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Thank you for stopping in! πŸ˜€

  6. Reply
    Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook
    July 3, 2017 at 2:44 am

    Oh, wow! These look perfect! I love baklava so much that I hope I could eat the whole pan, but my tummy doesn’t allow me. πŸ˜€ Thanks for sharing and the illustrations are so useful. Have a great week, Jas!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      July 3, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      Noo, you shouldn’t eat the whole pan, lol. It’s yummy but too rich! πŸ˜€

  7. Looks so delicious Jas! Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty I have shared on social media. Have a great week and see you at next week’s link up! Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty & Beyond
    http://www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond recently posted…Over the Moon Link Party #80My Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      July 2, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      Thank you, Sue! Have a great week ahead!

  8. Reply
    Arlene@Arl's World
    July 1, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Looks delicious , but almost too pretty to eat …almost! πŸ˜‰ Happy FF and weekend to you!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      July 1, 2017 at 10:33 pm

      Thank you, Arlene! Not quite so pretty, so we ate it all, lol πŸ˜‰

  9. Reply
    Miz Helen
    June 30, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I just pinned your beautiful Baklava! Hope you have a great 4th of July weekend and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen
    Miz Helen recently posted…Full Plate Thursday 6-29-17 #334My Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 30, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Thank you bunches!

  10. Reply
    image-in-ing: weekly photo linky
    June 29, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Such a lovely dessert.
    Thanks for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/06/shades-of-purple.html
    image-in-ing: weekly photo linky recently posted…Shades of purpleMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 30, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Thank you!

  11. Reply
    Roseann M Hampton
    June 29, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Yum! I love how you show the different ways to cut it! Last time I made it we just cut it into little rectangles.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      Hi, Roseann! Nothing wrong with little rectangles – still tastes delicious πŸ™‚

  12. Reply
    Judee@gluten free A-Z Blog
    June 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I made Baklava once but it didn’t look as beautiful as yours. Thank you for the cutting patterns. I am pinning this in case I ever make it again.
    My mother in law is the pro- she is 92 and still makes a mean baklava. Thanks for the great post
    Judee@gluten free A-Z Blog recently posted…QiGong 10 minute morning exercise for rejuvenationMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 29, 2017 at 8:52 am

      I’m sure your baklava tasted great. It gets prettier with the time – practice makes perfect (or almost perfect in my case, lol). I’m impressed with your MIL. Wow! I hope I’ll be still baking baklava when I’m 92. Heck, I hope I’ll be still alive, ha!

  13. Reply
    Molly
    June 28, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Mmm I love Baklava

    Mollyx
    Molly recently posted…Day 179 – A momentMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 28, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      I don’t know anybody who doesn’t πŸ™‚

  14. Reply
    rue
    June 27, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Hi Jas πŸ™‚

    I’ve never had baklava, but it looks good! I might try my hand at it πŸ™‚

    I hope you’re enjoying your summer. It’s been hot as hades here.

    Oh and no, I don’t think having a scarf collection is weird at all πŸ˜‰

    xo,
    rue
    rue recently posted…Road trip to Mount Lemmon!My Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 27, 2017 at 11:44 pm

      LOL, Rue, that makes me feel better πŸ˜€
      It actually cooled down quite a bit here – I need my fleece in the evenings!
      Stay cool and don’t turn the oven on for the baklava, that might not help, lol.

  15. Reply
    Helen at the Lazy Gastronome
    June 27, 2017 at 10:49 am

    I love baklava – never tried making it though – Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up~

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 27, 2017 at 11:37 pm

      Give it a try, Helen! It’s not hard at all!

  16. Reply
    Mia
    June 26, 2017 at 9:16 pm
    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 27, 2017 at 12:58 am

      Thanks, Mia.

  17. Reply
    Sue Lau
    June 26, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Gorgeous dessert! Thanks for joining me in this event!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 27, 2017 at 12:57 am

      Thank you for organizing it, Sue! It was fun.

  18. Reply
    Michelle
    June 26, 2017 at 4:31 am

    Oh no here we go again. And I actually prepared myself before coming to visit and had breakfast first to keep the hungry wolf at bay. It didn’t help I’m afraid πŸ˜‰ I’m still try eat my laptop every time. You’re recipes are always so delectable Jas, how do you do it?
    Michelle recently posted…Comment on How to Make an Adorable Washboard From a Tin Can by acraftymixMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 26, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Maybe you should just stop visiting me, Michelle, before you sue me for the computer damage, LOL. I appreciate your love, my friend!

  19. Reply
    Camilla @ Culinary Adventures
    June 26, 2017 at 12:23 am

    I can’t wait to try this! I love bakava though I’ve never made it myself. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 26, 2017 at 10:16 am

      You’re welcome, Camilla! Hope you’ll give it a try :). Thanks for stopping in!

  20. Reply
    Mary
    June 25, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Oh yum! One of my all time favorites! I try to not make it because I am capable of eating the whole pan all by myself. And you know you cannot blame me!! The only thing we do differently is we also add a bit of cinnamon and cloves to the syrup. And we put cloves on top of the diamond shapes.
    Mary recently posted…A Road Trip on the way to The VillageMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 25, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      Cloves, huh? Interesting! I actually added a little bit of cinnamon to the nuts, Mary, which I usually don’t do. I like the hint of it. Each year we go to a Greek Festival here in our little town and I see many different baklava shapes and other sweets similar to baklava. They all have nuts in them and kind of taste the same, lol. Yummy, though!

  21. Reply
    Ann
    June 25, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Mmmmm…yummmm! I’m mesmerized by the different cutting styles you have there. The star one is the best looking one. Somehow I think I’m not going to be able to cut so nicely and would massacre the baklava!
    Ann recently posted…The Liebster AwardMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 25, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      I highly doubt that, Ann! πŸ˜€

  22. Reply
    Mrs Shoes
    June 24, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    That star diagram alone is a kicker!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 24, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      πŸ˜€ Thank you, Mrs Shoes!

  23. Reply
    Karen
    June 24, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I can’t wait to try this! Me and phyllo have an odd relationship, but all of your instructions are so helpful!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 24, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      Show the phyllo who’s the boss, Karen! LOL Thanks for stopping in!

  24. Reply
    Carlee
    June 24, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Your baklava is beautiful!! For some reason I am intimidated as well, but I may just take you at your word and give it a go!
    Carlee recently posted…How to Make Homemade Cajeta #DairyMonthMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 24, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      Do it! I’m using filo for our apple week πŸ™‚

  25. Reply
    Amanda
    June 24, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Jas this looks delicious! Baklava is one of my favourites but I’ve never made it myself. Time to have a go now. Thank you πŸ™‚

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 24, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      Thank you, Amanda. It gets easier with each time you make it πŸ™‚

  26. Reply
    Wendy
    June 24, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Your baklava is gorgeous. You should be very proud. I really love the presentation of the star shaped cut.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 24, 2017 at 9:17 am

      Thank you so much, Wendy πŸ™‚

  27. Reply
    Caroline
    June 24, 2017 at 8:00 am

    I LOVE baklava – I have lovely memories making it with my mum (and enjoying it on trips to Greece and around)

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 24, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Hi, Caroline! I LOVE baklava a little too much too. My waist can vouch for that, lol. Growing up I had all these family members making it for me so I didn’t need to learn how to make it myself until much much later.

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