Baklava

This heavenly Baklava combines honey-soaked layers of flaky phyllo pastry with spiced walnuts. It’s a great make-ahead dessert perfect for the holidays or special occasions.

If I had to name some of the best desserts of all time, Baklava would be on the list for sure.

Baklava

Anyone who’s tasted it knows why. The flavors and textures are so unique and so delicious!

What is Baklava?

If you haven’t had it before, it’s layers upon layers of butter brushed phyllo dough with cinnamon scented walnuts in the middle, and after you bake it, you pour a citrus honey syrup all over it for the phyllo to soak up.

It’s quite sweet, but provided you use a good quality honey, you can really taste those nuances, and the texture has the most pleasing crunch and bite.

Baklava Recipe

It is also one of the most practical desserts in terms of storage.

It keeps well in the freezer and fridge, and even keeps at room temperature for about a week, so it’s a great option for gifts too.

In fact, when I was a kid, my dad mail ordered baklava every Christmas season, so it’s shippable as well.

How to Make Baklava:

Place walnuts, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a food processor:

How to Make Baklava

Pulse about 10 times, until the walnuts are well chopped:

Baklava Ingredients

That’s the filling. It’s so easy! Now it’s time to build the baklava.

Place layers of thawed phyllo dough down into your pan, brushing each one with melted butter:

Baklava Recipe Easy

You don’t need to brush each layer thoroughly. Just a quick swish across several times, to cover most of it.

Assembling the baklava, you want to move relatively quickly, to prevent the phyllo from drying out, so no need to be meticulous with the butter.

Once you have 8 layers of phyllo, add about 1/5 of the walnut mixture to the pan, spreading it evenly:

Greek Baklava Recipe

You’ll need about 2/3 cup of the walnuts for each nut layer.

How to make the Baklava even:

If you’re keen on making the baklava really even, here’s how I did mine.

I bought a 1-lb box of phyllo, which stated on the box that there were 18 13×18″ sheets.

Using a 9×13 pan, you should cut the sheets in half, which gives you 36 total sheets.

So for the phyllo dough, I did the layers like this: 8, 5, 5, 5, 5, 8, with walnuts in between each of those sets.

Once the baklava is layered, cut it into pieces using a sharp knife:

How to Cut Baklava

You can do squares, diamonds, triangles, or whatever shape you want.

Bake the baklava in the oven for 50 minutes, until it looks golden on the tops and edges:

Baklava Dessert

In the meantime, combine honey, water, sugar, cinnamon, orange peel, and lemon peel in a saucepan:

Baklava Syrup

Bring to a boil, then cook for 5 minutes, to allow the cinnamon and citrus to flavor the syrup.

While the sugar syrup is still hot, pour it all over the baklava, which should soak it right up.

Best Baklava Recipe

It is SO important that the syrup is hot when you pour it over, otherwise it won’t soak properly.

Now here’s the hard part….leave the baklava at room temperature for 8 hours, uncovered.

What is Baklava

You want to leave it without a cover, to prevent sogginess.

Then the Baklava is ready to enjoy!

For the holidays, I also love Snickerdoodles, Shortbread Cookies, and Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.

Can Baklava be frozen? Yes, it freezes beautifully. Store for up to 3 months in a sealed container.

Can Baklava be left out? Yes, but I wouldn’t keep it out at room temperature for more than a week. Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Can Baklava be made a day ahead? Yes. Since it needs 8 hours of standing time before serving, it’s the perfect make ahead dessert.

Can you use other nuts in Baklava? Yes. Pistachios are also very popular, and you can do a blend of any nut you wish. However, I really think walnuts have the best taste and texture.

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5 from 13 votes

Baklava

This heavenly baklava combines honey-soaked layers of flaky phyllo pastry with spiced walnuts. It's a great make-ahead dessert!
Course Dessert
Keyword baklava
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Rest Time 8 hours
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 32
Calories 215kcal

Ingredients

For the Baklava:

  • 16 oz walnuts
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (or ground cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 16 oz phyllo dough* thawed
  • 1 cup butter melted

For the Syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup good quality honey**
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 strip orange peel
  • 1 strip lemon peel

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Pulse the walnuts in a food processor with the cinnamon, cardamom, and salt until well chopped.
  • To assemble the baklava, place 8 layers of phyllo dough one-by-one on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan, brushing each lightly with butter.
  • Spread 1/5 of the walnut mixture evenly on top (about 2/3 cup).
  • Add another 5 layers of phyllo one-by-one, brushing each with butter, then add another layer of nuts. The total sequence should be phyllo layers of 8,5,5,5,5,8, with nuts in between those layers.
  • Bake the baklava for 50 minutes, until golden on the edges and tops.
  • In the meantime, bring all the syrup ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the citrus peels and cinnamon stick, and pour the hot syrup evenly over the baklava. 
  • Let the baklava cool completely at room temperature for 8 hours (uncovered, to prevent sogginess). Then it's ready to enjoy!

Notes

*My 1-lb box of phyllo said it had 18 13x18" layers, so I cut them in half, and had 36 sheets total for my 9x13 pan.
**I cannot overstate how important it is to use a good honey here. If it comes in a bear shape bottle, probably steer clear. Ideally look for raw honey.

Nutrition

Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 123mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 3.2% | Vitamin C: 0.3% | Calcium: 1.8% | Iron: 4.6%

Post updated in November 2018. Originally published March 2012.

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