Get ready to be blown away by the sheer deliciousness and simplicity of this amazing Baklava Recipe! Made with layers of flaky phyllo pastry soaked in sweet honey syrup and a crunchy spiced nut filling, this classic Middle Eastern dessert is divine! With its irresistible combination of flavors and contrasting textures, your guests will find it impossible to resist this decadent dessert!
What Is Baklava?
If you’ve never indulged in the beloved Middle Eastern dessert that is baklava, you’re in for a real treat! Basically, baklava is a type of pastry made with layers of delicate paper-thin phyllo dough that are brushed with melted butter, generously filled with a mixture of finely chopped nuts, and then topped off with a sweet honey syrup. It’s absolutely delicious and strikes the perfect balance between crispy, buttery, and sticky sweet in each and every bite!
However, despite its impressive visual appeal and flavor profile, baklava is remarkably easy to make, even for a novice in the kitchen! In fact, with just a few basic ingredients like store-bought phyllo dough and a handful of pantry staples, you can effortlessly create this delightful dessert. So, without further ado, put on your apron, gather your ingredients, and get ready to impress your friends and family with a batch of this scrumptious homemade baklava!
Why You’ll Love This Baklava
- Beginner-Friendly! Making baklava from scratch doesn’t require any fancy ingredients or knowledge of complicated baking techniques. The step-by-step process is easy to follow and produces perfect baklava every time!
- Authentic Flavor! Made with crispy sheets of buttery phyllo, a generous sprinkle of spiced nuts, and a luscious honey syrup, this baklava captures the essence of classic Middle Eastern flavors. Each bite offers the perfect balance of taste and texture.
- Party Perfect! Not only is baklava delicious, but it also presents beautifully. The little square or diamond-shaped pieces, neatly arranged on a platter create an impressive display that is perfect for any occasion.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For The Pastry
- Phyllo Dough – It’s a delicate and thin pastry dough that forms the lovely crispy layers of the desert. It can also be used to make savory recipes too like this Mushroom and Leek Strudel. You will find phyllo sold in the freezer section at your local grocery store.
- Butter – The butter adds to the crispy texture and richness. Always use unsalted butter for better control over the amount of added salt. Unsalted clarified butter or ghee can also be used.
- Mixed Nuts – You will need some finely chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pistachios to make the crunchy sweet filling. Feel free to use any combination of nuts if you like.
- Sugar – Simple granulated sugar adds just the right touch of sweetness to the nut mixture.
- Spices – A bit of ground cinnamon and ground cloves bring warmth and a subtle hint of aromatic flavor. A dash of ground cardamom is another option if you don’t like cloves.
For The Syrup
- Sugar – You will need some granulated sugar to create the foundation of the sweet syrup.
- Water – Used to help create the right consistency and texture.
- Honey – Adds a delightful bit of natural sweetness and helps bind the layers together.
- Lemon Juice – Adds just a touch of tang to balance the sweetness of the syrup and brighten up the flavors.
- Cinnamon Stick – Infuses the syrup with a subtle warm cinnamon flavor.
How To Make Baklava
Making homemade baklava is actually really simple! Just follow these easy and straightforward steps, and you’ll have a perfect batch of this delicious Middle Eastern dessert to impress your friends and family!
Preheat The Oven And Prep The Pan
Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (177°C) so that it’s already hot once you’ve assembled the pastry. Then generously grease a 9×13 inch (23×33 cm) size baking pan and set it aside for now.
Prepare The Nut Mixture
Next, you need to make crunchy nut filling! So combine the finely chopped nuts, ¼ cup of sugar, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves in a small bowl. Then mix the ingredients together until the spices and sugar are evenly disturbed with the nuts.
Begin Layering The Phyllo
This step is about building a sturdy foundation for the dessert. First, you need to unroll the phyllo dough and cover it with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Then take just one sheet of phyllo and place it gently in the greased baking pan. Next, brush it with melted butter, making sure that you coat every inch of the dough. Now, repeat this process layering about 10 sheets of phyllo dough to create the bottom layer.
Add The Nuts And More Phyllo
Now, you can assemble the baklava! Sprinkle about half of the prepared nut mixture evenly over the layers of phyllo in the baking dish. Next, add 5 more layers of phyllo dough, brushing each one with butter before adding the next, just like you did to create the base. Then top those 5 layers of dough with the remaining nut mixture. Finally, add 10 more layers of phyllo, again brushing each one with butter.
Cut And Bake
Once you’ve built your baklava, grab a sharp knife and delicately slice it into small squares or diamond shapes, making sure to cut through all the layers. Now, transfer the baklava to the preheated oven to bake for 50 minutes or until it’s crispy and golden brown. Then remove it from the oven and let it cool down just a bit.
Make The Syrup
While the baklava is baking, you need to make the flavorful syrup. To begin, bring the sugar, water, honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick to a gentle boil in a saucepan. Then reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes as the sugar dissolves. Next, remove the cinnamon stick and allow the syrup to slightly cool.
Complete The Dessert
After your baklava has cooled off a bit, slowly pour the cooled syrup evenly over the pastry giving it time to soak into the dough. Now, allow the baklava to sit for at least 4 hours and up to overnight to fully absorb the syrup and fully develop its flavor. Then serve the baklava with a dollop of whipped cream and your favorite beverage like a warm Irish Coffee if you like!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Baklava is very versatile. While traditional recipes tend to use walnuts and pistachios, you can experiment with various nuts like almonds, pecans, or even hazelnuts to create your own unique flavor combination. You could even mix a little cocoa powder into the nut mixture for a touch of chocolate taste.
The most common reason that baklava turns out soggy is that you either used too much syrup or you didn’t let the pastry cool off enough before you poured the syrup on. It’s also crucial to brush plenty of the melted butter between each layer of dough to create the perfect crispy texture.
Absolutely! You can prepare it a day or two in advance and store it in an airtight container at room temperature until you’re ready to serve. In fact, many people believe that baklava tastes even better the next day because the flavors have had more time to meld together.
- Thaw the phyllo dough properly. Make sure to let your phyllo pastry sheets completely thaw out before you begin this recipe. Doing so will help to prevent the sheets from breaking during assembly.
- Use a food processor for chopping. You can pulse the nuts a few times in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Just be careful not to overprocess them into a paste.
- Generously brush with butter. Use a pastry brush to cover the entire surface of each layer of phyllo dough with melted butter to ensure a golden brown and crispy texture.
- Let the flavors develop. After pouring the syrup over the pastry, allow the baklava to sit undisturbed for at least 4 hours. The syrup needs this time to penetrate and soak into all the layers.
You can store leftover baklava in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the fridge for about a week. It’s also possible to freeze baklava for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, just let it thaw out in the refrigerator overnight and then bring it to room temperature before enjoying.
Other Delicious Desserts You’ll Love
- Easy Chocolate Fudge
- Burnt Basque Cheesecake
- Slow Cooker Chocolate Candy
- Blackberry Cobbler
- Fig Tart
Craving More? Follow Along:
- 1 pound phyllo dough thawed
- 1¼ cups unsalted butter melted
- 2 cups mixed nuts such as walnuts and pistachios, finely chopped
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13 inch (23×33 cm) baking pan.
- In a bowl, mix the chopped nuts, ¼ cup sugar, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves. Set aside.
- Unroll the phyllo dough and cover it with a damp towel to keep it from drying out. Layer the phyllo sheets one at a time in the greased pan, brushing each sheet with melted butter before adding the next. Use about 10 sheets of phyllo for the bottom layer.
- Spread about half of the nut mixture evenly over the phyllo layers.
- Add 5 more layers of phyllo dough, brushing each with melted butter, followed by the remaining nut mixture.
- Finish with another 10 layers of phyllo dough, brushing each with melted butter.
- With a sharp knife, carefully cut the baklava into squares or diamond shapes, slicing through all the layers.
- Bake the baklava for 50 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
- While the baklava is baking, prepare the syrup by combining the sugar, water, honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and allow the syrup to cool slightly.
- Slowly pour the cooled syrup over the slightly cooled baklava, allowing it to soak into the layers. Let the baklava sit for at least 4 hours or overnight to fully absorb the syrup and develop its flavors.
Tips & Notes:
- Phyllo pastry: It’s important to keep the phyllo covered with a damp cloth while you’re working to prevent it from drying out.
- Nut mixture: Feel free to use a combination of your favorite nuts. Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are traditionally used.
- Syrup: For the best results, make sure the syrup is cooled before pouring over the hot baklava.
- Storage: Baklava keeps well and actually improves with time. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.