A layer of crunchy, flaky shortbread topped with crushed nuts soaked in honey-lemon syrup. The iconic baklava is my favorite pastry that I never get tired of.
Homemade baklava isn’t too sweet and you won’t believe you made it yourself.
You can walk past pastry shop windows without resisting the urge to stop by.
But if there’s one sweet thing that holds me back, it’s baklava.
A dessert for when you want to impress your family and friends. Everyone loves it. It makes loads. It’s amazing. It tastes even more amazing.
What goes in Baklava
What may surprise you is how few ingredients go into baklava: puff pastry, walnuts or pistachios (or other nuts, see recipe notes for regional variations), butter, honey, and sugar. , lemon, cinnamon and water.
Yes, really, that’s enough.
Phyllo pastry – tricks to handling
Phyllo pastry – also known as phyllo pastry – is a paper-thin pastry used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines to make spanakopita-like pastries and pies. It is sold frozen and fresh (in the refrigerated section of supermarkets).
The difference between phyllo and puff pastry is that puff pastry “puffs” when baked, revealing layers of puff pastry. Filo pastry is like a thin layer of puff pastry inside a puff pastry.
People seem to have a love-hate relationship with Philo. The “love” part is usually eating things made with phyllo.
The problem most people have is that the pastry dries out and crumbles when they try to use it.It’s frustrating and there’s no way to save it when that happens. Follow along and you’ll be the phyllo queen (or king) and can beat this baklava recipe and all other phyllo pastry recipes.
How to use phyllo pastry
- Thaw frozen phyllo pastry overnight in the fridge. Don’t try to rush the thawing by placing it in a warm place – makes the pastry brittle;
- Get refrigerated phyllo pastry if you can (fresh pasta and noodles section of supermarkets). No need to thaw, slightly easier to handle (more pliable);
- Take it out of the fridge 30 minutes beforehand;
- Keep the phyllo pastry covered with a slightly damp tea towel to ensure it doesn’t dry out; and
- Handle like tissue paper with fairy fingers. Don’t slap it around like a slice of ham!
How to make Baklava
It’s very easy: Chop the walnuts or pistachios into fine crumbs.Brush the puff pastry into alternating layers of butter and walnuts. It’s like making lasagna!
Cut into diamonds, bake and drizzle with honey-lemon syrup. Soak. Devour.
It doesn’t take many words to describe how to make baklava, but it takes time to actually put it together. It took me 30 minutes (from cutting the pie crust to putting it in the oven), so I practiced. In other words, don’t answer the phone call from chatty Aunt Cecilia in the middle of a baklava gathering. Let’s concentrate on the task in front of us here! However, you can keep the pie crust covered for up to 2 hours.
Nuts used in Baklava
Baklava is made from a variety of nuts from the Mediterranean and Middle East, with walnuts, pistachios and almonds being the most common. It can be one of them, or it can be a combination.
Here are some regional varieties.
- Greece: there are versions made with just one nut – walnuts, pistachios or almonds – as well as a mix of walnuts and pistachios. I usually make it with just walnuts.
- Turkish – usually made with only pistachios, no cinnamon
- Persian – 50/50 almonds and pistacchio with cardamom instead of cinnamon and a touch of rosewater in the syrup (start with 1 tsp, adjust to taste)
- Middle Eastern – typically made with just walnuts, per recipe
Crackle and pop!
Needless to say the food part is the best, followed closely by the pouring of the syrup while the baklava is still hot. It sizzles and crackles and is an all-around satisfying experience!
You might think that pouring syrup into baklava would soak up the top layer, but that’s not the case. The pastry on the bottom also remains very crispy, even though it’s soaked in syrup at the end.
Losing count of the layers…..
“Don’t talk to me!” I say sternly as I assemble the baklava. “I have to concentrate!!”
Losing shifts is terrifyingly easy. That’s true almost every time.
Don’t worry!!! First off, missing nuts is a good indicator that you’re on your last shift
Secondly, if you skip a sheet, use too many sheets in a layer, or run out of the top layer, that’s great! Variations of baklava can be found on the internet and each pastry layer The thickness of the is spread everywhere, and some use only two sheets.
Honestly, don’t worry. There’s a 90% chance I miscounted on the way into the baklava in these photos.
What to do with leftover phyllo pastry.
If you’re in Australia, you’ll need two 375g packs due to the sheer number of leaves in a pack, which means you’ll end up with a lot of leftover phyllo dough. Here are some ideas to make with – Spinach and Feta Scrunch Pie (no better name!) made from this recipe from Sukumie Lane (with extra crumpled dough on top) or spinach and ricotta. Spinach and ricotta triangles made from cheese roll stuffing.
The Final Word On Baklava!
If this alone doesn’t convince you that you should try this recipe, this might be the kicker – it stays 100% perfect for a week (and then back to 98%…) so ideal target. to a gathering. Even just waiting at least 6 hours for the syrup to fully absorb is great, but the next day is even better…and the next day…