Baklava

Please welcome Simply Recipes guest author Garrett McCord who brought us some of the best baklava we’ve ever tasted. ~Elise

Have I ever mentioned that I’m a baklava addict? It’s true, I have a problem and should be taken to the Betty Crocker Clinic so I can get help. Last year I bought a 30 serving pan of the stuff, intent on bringing it to work to share. Four hours later the entire pan was gone and I was a sticky mess. As such, it was only a matter of time before I learned to make my own.

Baklava is a delicious phyllo pastry popular in Middle Eastern countries. Its supposed origins are Turkish, dating to the Byzantine Empire (or even further), though many cultures claim it for their own. Many Greek and Lebanese restaurants serve it, and it is now a featured dessert of several former Ottoman countries. In baklava, layers of crisp phyllo dough alternate with a sugary spiced nut mixture, and the whole thing is then soaked in fragrant sweet syrup made with honey, lemon and cinnamon. It’s an exotic and decadent treat to be sure.

The recipe can be a bit time consuming, and isn’t really a first-time baker’s recipe, but if you can put together a cake well enough on your own then this is a good next step in your baking education. The tissue paper-thin phyllo dough is fragile and breaks easily if not handled properly, but the end product is forgiving so don’t fret if it all falls apart. My first time I just made a mess of dried out phyllo and butter and the baklava tasted wonderful regardless.

Baklava Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 24 portions.

Ingredients

For the baklava:

  • 1 lb. of chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pistachios are best, or use a combination of them)
  • 1 lb of phyllo dough
  • 1 cup of butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 teaspoon of ground cloves

For the syrup:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Finely ground pistachios for garnish (optional)

Method

1 Lightly grease a 9x13 pan and set the oven to 350°F.

2 Thaw the phyllo dough according to manufacturer's directions (this may take overnight). When thawed, roll out the dough and cut the dough in half so the sheets will fit in the pan. Cover with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.

3 Process the nuts until in small, even sized pieces. Combine with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.

4 Place a sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Repeat 7 more times until it is 8 sheets thick, each sheet being "painted" with the butter.

5 Spoon on a thin layer of the nut mixture. Cover with two more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with butter. Continue to repeat the nut mixture and two buttered sheets of phyllo until the nut mixture is all used up. The top layer should be 8 phyllo sheets thick, each sheet being individually buttered. Do not worry if the sheets crinkle up a bit, it will just add more texture.

6 Cut into 24 equal sized squares using a sharp knife. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown, and edges appear slightly crisp.

7 While baking, make the syrup. Combine the cinnamon stick, sugar, lemon juice, honey, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low heat and let simmer for 7 minutes and slightly thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick and allow to cool.

8 Spoon the cooled syrup over the hot baklava and let cool for at least 4 hours. Garnish with some finely crushed pistachios of desired.

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All families have their own recipe, and this is just one. If you have an interesting take on baklava, please tell us in the comments section! ~Garrett

baklava-2.jpg

80 Comments

  1. Cadence

    I usually replace half the nuts with dried dates when I make baklava. The first time I did this because I ran out of nuts, but then I decided that I like baklava better with dates.

  2. Rachel

    My favorite baklava recipe was given to my mother when I was in high school. We were lucky enough to learn to make it from a woman who had learned from her mother.

    Our recipe uses walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, and a bit of nutmeg for the filling. We use individual sheets of phyllo, lightly buttered and folded in half. Sprinkle the folded pastry with the nut mixture, then use the handle of a wooden spoon to roll up the phyllo sheet. You end up with neat little rolls. After baking, the rolls are quickly dunked in the syrup and then left on a rack to cool and drain. You end up with a portable, slightly crispier, version of the original!

  3. Liza

    This looks wonderful. I had the same problem with phyllo trying to make little cups. They dried up before baking then just crumbled. Oh well, this look fabulous.

  4. GG Mora

    Cardamom. Cardamom, cardamom, cardamom. Substitute ground freshly ground cardamom for the clove, and infuse the syrup with several toasted whole cardamom pods. The perfume is astonishing.

    Sounds lovely, GG Mora! I was tempted to throw a vanilla bean and some whole cloves in the syrup as well. ~Garrett

  5. merd

    I’m a horrible baker and it has nothing to do with the altitude in Denver. Theres a couple places downtown that make some good stuff (A pizza and a gyro place) and I leave the expert work to them. Not sure where to get the phyllo dough. I had to look it up – never heard of it before. It doesn’t sound like something I can pick up at a common grocery store, or can you? Can someone school me? I may try to take this on despite my curse. Darn these cravings! I have to admit your picture looks much more gourmet than anything I’ve ever had… I bet its wonderful. Thanks!

    Most grocery stores have it in the frozen section. ~Garrett

  6. Jill

    I tried Garrett’s baklava and it’s fantastic. The phyllo dough was light and crispy, the honey taste was delicious and the pistachios were a nice touch. It was the best baklava I’ve ever had!

  7. Maddy

    I sometimes use ground cardamom instead of cloves in the nut mixture and for the syrup, or omit the lemon and cinnamon and add a few tablespoons of rose water to the syrup after it’s cooled.

  8. Dusty

    I like a mixture of pistachios and pecans actually. It makes for a nice mix of flavor and texture. I also tried some with a sort of mapley flavor that I thought was keen. I think they used maple syrup that was further reduced, but I’m not sure… but this recipe doesn’t sound as sweet as most baklava I have had in the past. I might actually try to make this one, who knows?

  9. amanda

    There is this one stand at the Davis Farmers’ Market that has amazing baklava. I tried it once and almost cried from satisfaction. But since then, I’ve wanted to make my own. This recipe will help push me in the right direction. Great pictures too, really great color and contrast.

  10. holly

    An even easier way is to separate the dough length wise in half, put half down, cover with half of the butter,then the nuts then do the same thing with the top layer. It is much quicker and only took half of the time. You can also use karo syrup to save time instead of you own.

  11. sairuh

    I add rose water to the syrup in my recipe. I agree about using cardamom, too –it’s wonderfully aromatic and goes well with both the rose and cinnamon flavors. I recently got some orange blossom water, so I might try that next time.

    Putting dates in the filling sounds interesting! I’ve had custardy fillings in baklava from a Lebanese bakery in SoCal (long ago), though I’m not sure if it’s still called baklava. :-) Makes me wonder about other sweet fillings that would work.

  12. Rob

    My great-grandfather was from Lebanon so I am no stranger to the sinfully sweet and nutty Baklava, Halva and other Middle Eastern desserts. I honestly have to say that Garrett’s Baklava is just as good as what my great-grandfather used to make…yes it’s that good.

  13. Meeta

    I love Baklava. After living in the Middle East for 12-13 years I have tasted some great baklava. Maybe that is why I am always intimidated to make some on my own – because I know I’d never be able make something like the ones I have tasted. So, at the moment I make do with eating baklava whenever I visit my parents in Dubai. They have a gorgeous Lebanese bakery right next door to where they live. The baklava is to die for. I think I should get over my hesitations and follow this recipe here. It looks great!

  14. Peter

    A Greek would eat this baklava, hands down…bravo.

    I’m working on a baklava with homemade phyllo.

  15. Cenk

    I am not an expert in baking baklava but surely an expert in eating it. So I thought I should add my two cents about “how to eat baklava properly” :) You have to put the whole thing upside down in your mouth, meaning the bottom of the baklava will face your palate. Then you gently squeeze it between your palate and your tongue and let the syrup pour down your throat. Then you start to chew the whole thing. According to experts, this is the most pleasurable way of eating baklava!

  16. Carol

    Sairuh understands Baklava as I know it: rose water, cardomon…! But Jonathan has it right as well: diamond cuts. Unfortunately, mine is always bought, because I too am intimidated by phyllo pastry. However, you all are so enthusiastic, it gives one hope. Thanks.

  17. GG Mora

    I’ve always been frustrated by the way the top layer skids around and pulls away when I try to cut it (no matter how sharp the knife). The last time I made it, I tried something a little tricky that resulted in much easier cutting. After building up 4 or five layers of phyllo, I buttered the top very well, and then picked up the whole top and flipped it over (at 4 or 5 layers, it’s surprisingly stable). The butter that was then on the bottom of the top layer adhered to the nuts underneath and kept it from slipping around – much easier to cut!

    Also, I lay the phyllo out between layers of parchment or waxed paper, with that between layers of damp towel. Don’t know if this makes a difference, since I’ve never done it with just a damp towel, but I’ve never had the phyllo dry out on me.

  18. Amy Crawford

    You ate an entire pan? My god, you are truly something… I once went on a baklava “spree” that involved eating 4 pieces in a matter of minutes, and then I promptly felt sick the rest of the day because it was so rich (but sooo delicious – how can one resist?)

    It’s my stupid human trick, that and punishing an entire box of Girl Scout thin mints in one sitting. ~Garrett

  19. Aylin

    I’m Turkish and this recipe is really similar to our family recipe! It’s really not that difficult actually and the taste is well worth it. Now, homemade phyllo dough is the real challenge! I have tried and it just doesn’t turn out like my grandmother’s…

  20. Ann

    I haven’t made this exact recipe, but it is pretty similar to ones I’ve successfully used in the past. The big trick is simply to organize your work area so you can assemble quickly, and avoid the phyllo drying out.

    Do not agonize over it — it actually works better the quicker you do it. If you miss a little spot with the butter, or rip the phyllo a little, no problem, just move on.

    Once you figure out how long to thaw the phyllo so it is neither dry nor soggy you are home free.

    I also like to soak a little bit of orange peel in the syrup (remove the peel before pouring the syrup).

  21. Robyn

    Don’t be intimidated by making baklava! I first learned this recipe in my 2nd grade classroom from the mother of a classmate. If a bunch of rowdy 2nd graders can make it, so can you. Don’t worry, if you mess up, it still tastes delicious :)

  22. sairuh

    Jonathan, thanks for the link to the galaktobouriko recipe. I wonder how long it would last before the phyllo become soggy? Wait, why am I asking? ;-) Oh, right: just wondered if it could be made a day before serving. I’ve found that “aging” baklava for a day or so allows the syrup and nuts to integrate nicely, without loosing phyllo crispness.

  23. David

    There used to be a great bakery in San Francisco called Shaharazade, run by an older Arabic couple, where they used to make their own filo dough. They’d shake it until it was as large as king-sized sheet with their hands. And paper-thin, too.

    It was much easier to work with than the frozen stuff since it didn’t dry up and break when you used it. But better yet, it tasted like ‘dough’. It was amazing!

    I asked them what they were going to do when they retired and they said, “We’re going to close. Our sons aren’t interested in the business.” I told them I wanted to learn and take it over from them and they laughed, telling me, “It takes at least 5 years to learn how to do this.”

    Unfortunately, they did finally close and I never got the chance to learn. But boy, was that ever good filo dough!

  24. Patsy

    I grew up in the Detroit area and the best baklava I can remember is from Shatila Sweets in Dearborn, MI. My family used to take huge trays of it with us when visiting family out of town. I’ve since left Detroit, and when my parents finally retired to a warmer clime, the last thing they did was buy Baklava, and send me a tray. My favorites were always the “fingers” and the “half-moon” pieces because of the fine ground of the nuts. I think the half-moons used cashews as well. Anyway, I’ll have to try this. It sounds amazing. Thanks for the recipe.

  25. Alyssa

    I add the shredded peel of a small organic orange and a split vanilla bean to my syrup, which I make with part sugar and part Cretan honey, and men have proposed to me on the spot after one bite. Try it!

    Also, to freeze: make it as usual, cut into squares and bake lightly. Freeze after cooling (wrapped tightly) and when you’re ready to eat, re-bake it till it’s golden and then pour on the syrup and enjoy.

  26. Bonnie

    This looks like a great recipe. I have an assembly tip which may be helpful:

    Instead of trying to cut the dough to fit a 9×11 pan, I line a large jelly roll pan with foil and stack up the layers. Before I bake it, I fold the foil up around the edges to create four sides. After it’s baked, and when the syrup has set a little and the whole thing cooled some, I fold the foil walls downs and cutting is super easy.

  27. Lillianne

    To the person who asked where to buy phyllo dough, it’s available in regular grocery stores like Kroger’s and Albertson’s. Believe it or not, even the dreaded Huge-Mart has it. You can find it in the frozen section with the pie shells and bread dough.

  28. Dania

    I live in Astoria which is a Greek neighborhood in NY (probably the largest Greek community in the US…) and in the local Greek stores you have a choice of 4-5 different kinds of phyllo dough, all different thicknesses, one of them is called homemade style meaning that it is not as thick as the machine rolled ones.

    The Problem: which one should I use/buy?

    I would ask the people who work there. My store only had one option. ~Garrett

  29. Lisa S.

    I have a habit of calculating the cost difference in making things I like from scratch versus going out and buying it pre-made. Here, outside DC, we have a Persian-food chain (House of Kabob-thing) and they have baklava in about 2″x2″ portions for $3. So if you were to make a 9″x11″ pan of this stuff it would retail for $75 (approx 25 servings) or $72 if you cut 24 servings.

    Harry & David will sell you a pound of their baklava for $27. I think this is 6″x6″ for 9 servings. It’s still $3 a serving.

    I have all the ingredients except the phyllo dough and nuts in the pantry so I know I can make it for much less per serving for my own enjoyment. However, when I need an immediate baklava fix, I can pay my $3 and appreciate the effort that went into making it too. And if it’s good baklava, it makes it that much sweeter too.

  30. MMA

    Baklava is one of my go-to dessert recipes. It takes a bit of time, but it’s not hard. Try using orange blossom honey and adding some lemon zest.

  31. Jan

    I’m Armenian and my Grandma made the best… I have come close but of course use purchased Phyllo. My Grandma used to tell us that ‘good Armenian brides’ made it with at least 24 layers. She used a little wood dowel to roll hers out. We use walnuts and an orange syrup.However the once famous/now gone, Omar Khyam Restaurant in San Francisco used rose water syrup and it was fabulous.

  32. Zehra

    Your baklava looks really good. I am a Turk, and my mother is great in making baklava, with home-made phyllos, of course. She generally does not use cinnamon, and nuts; rather prefers to put Antep pistachios (a special kind of pistachio planted only in Gaziantep city of Turkey) in it, and it tastes really wonderful. Finally, a baklava is more appreciable when it has more layers and Antep pistachios filling (My mother prepares 40 layers by hand, incredible woman!) :)

  33. NW Guy

    This is very close to the family recipe going back a couple of generations. The cutting is always diagonal but for really small pieces these can be halved into triangles. The key to cutting is to make sure you mark it well before cooking.

    Store bought phyllo is great; used to be it was only in import stores or restaurants and you had to be sure it didn’t have freezer burn. Now it is easy to find; much, much easier than yiayia rolling it out with a wooden broomhandle. That was truly a labor of love.

    Don’t forget that the phyllo can also be used making spanakopida or appetizers!

  34. Josh Baugher

    Great recipe! I used a mixture of walnuts and pecans. I probably only used about half of the butter in my brushing (so you may want to only melt a stick of butter at a time, and use the melted butter to brush the dish too).

    My results http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbaugher/2332175886/

  35. Star

    I am a Turkish girl and I can surely say that Baklava is a real Turkish pastry and for centuries it is a very common traditional pastry that we eat especially in Bayram days. We usually bake it at our homes then serve it to our guests. You can taste 100 hundred baklavas and they can all taste different.

    Being an expert in baklava is so important. You should choose the right butter, right flour, right nuts, right heat etc… Some of them are crispy, some are so soft, some are so sweet and some are not.. So you should really find the perfect level, then you can serve it with complacency.

  36. Jaxon

    I recently made my first baklava and it was much easier than I imagined. This recipe is fabulous! The key is to cover the stack of phyllo with the sheet of plastic it comes in, then cover that with a dampened kitchen towel. You get a rhythm going as you throw back the covers from your stack of phyllo, grab two sheets, lay them in your pan, recover the stack, then butter the sheets in your pan and sprinkle on the nuts. Repeat frequently until done. That’s it. It really isn’t hard at all, it’s just a bit time consuming. It took me about an hour to make the syrup, build the baklava and get it in the oven. Oh, but it is so worth it. And it freezes beautifully. I wrap individual pieces in plastic wrap so I can take one out daily. Just let it thaw a bit and then munch away. The top is still crispy even after freezing.

    I’ve made it two more times since that first time and cut my time down a bit with practice. But you really just need to relax and enjoy. It is one of those desserts that knock people out when they find out you made it yourself. Only you know that it’s not as hard as it looks. But don’t tell them that. Just revel in all the praise and moaning as they eat it. If you can stand to share that is!

  37. Farida

    I love Turkish baklava. Elise, thanks for sharing. Phyllo dough is fun to work with, I like it, althouth it is challenging. In Azerbaijan we made baklava too, but slightly different, not with phylo dough, and it is fabulous too. I posted a recipe for Easy baklava (not the real Azerbaijani though) on my blog http://www.azcookbook.com. Please visit too!

  38. Nihal

    This type of baklava goes well with ice-cream. There is also a new (I think new) kind of baklava that you use milk+sugar in syrup instead of water. This one is lighter and I like it more. =)

  39. Anna

    Does anyone know how to make lebanese baklava (it has a ridiculously amazingly yummy cashew paste thing in it). It’s a lot finer than the pic shown here – as in the nuts look more pastey than nutsey. I bought some the other day and found out the only two things i can get about this particular style of Baklava. 1 – It’s Lebanese. 2 – the great tasting stuff in the middle is Cashew. THAT’S ALL I know and I NEED to know how to make it!!!

    Can anyone help?

  40. Kathleen Grant

    Since 1983 I’ve been making Lebanese baklava and it truly does taste a lot different than the Greek version with cinnamon and walnuts. The version I’m in love with is pure pistacios, ground semi-fine, mixed with sugar. The syrup is made with orange blossom water and a squeeze of lemon -no spices. The butter is unsalted. Always make sure the syrup is cool and the pastry is hot when you pour it. This version is distinct and incredibly addictive. My family absolutely insists I make it every Christmas and even though I fly in from another state, when I arrive they have all the ingredients ready to go – and they look upon me with expectant eyes. It’s nice to be needed! ;-)

    The only problem I have with the whole thing is when the bottom seems soggy compared to the authentic stuff I’ve had in Lebanon. I need to know the trick for baking this up crispy on the bottom. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Although the taste is perfect and people rave, I’ve been sorely disappointed with the results from time to time and I’m really not sure what the problem is. Too much butter on the bottom? Oven not hot enough? (I always preheat like a good girl.) I’m planning my next batch and this time I’m going to try spraying the bottom with non stick spray and using multiple sheets from the bottom up…maybe this will keep the bottom crisp? Please help!

  41. Garrett

    So adding a comment to my own recipe, I recently made this but switched up the spices. I cut out cloves for ground cardamom, and added to the syrup the juice and zest of an entire Meyer lemon, plus threw in a vanilla bean with the contents scraped out. Equally delicious with a definite acidic bite. A nice alternative if you don’t want to go the more conventional route. ~Garrett

  42. alexis bajich

    I used this recipe to make 2 pans of baklava for the school international carnival!

    I was so impressed with myself! It looks and tastes like baklava!

    Thanks for the great recipe – it’s one that I’ll use over and over again. Time consuming to a point, but nonetheless, extremely easy!

  43. Kim

    I just finished making this dish and it is wonderful. I was actually amazed at how easy it was to make – a little time consuming but so worth it in the end. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I would just like to add that I used salted butter and I think it would be better with unsalted. Even still, it’s very good!

  44. Mercina

    This looks like a good recipe, although I would recommend adding a few cloves to your syrup (just remove them before you pour the syrup over the phyllo). Also, it’s best to let the baklava sit over night before you serve.

  45. Maris

    I was wondering if the consensus was to use salted or unsalted butter? I’ve made this once before and it came out fabulous! But I can’t remember which type of butter I used!

    Always used unsalted, that way you can control the salt content. ~Garrett

  46. yasemin

    I am very surprised to see a very popular turkish dessert on this web page. In my country it is traditional to serve baklava especially on religious festivals. I do not remember any special day that my mother did not prepared baklava. Here you can see how we make it. http://www.nefisyemektarifleri.com/kolay-ev-baklavasi-tarifi/

  47. SINEM

    Baklava is a turkish delight and really difficult to do…

    The real baklava should have 40 phyllo dough!

    In Turkey there are cook (like may father!) who are able to do only baklava… :-)

  48. John's Baklava Recipe

    There are as many Baklava recipes as there are bakers! I wish I could make it more, but one it is time consuming, two it is expensive and three when I am in the mood to make it I can’t because the phylo dough is frozen!

  49. panda

    I didn’t get a chance to read all the comments so maybe this is in there, but for a special holiday treat try adding cranberries to the nut mixture. I prefer fresh since the sugars, baking and syrups soften them up a bit. It adds a tart little kick, some extra color and interesting texture. :) I LOVE BAKLAVA!

  50. April

    I totally agree with the poster who suggested cardamom….it’s a magical addition to the cinnamon… I too put the seeds in the syrup and strain it. My other “secret” is to add some orange rind to the syrup mixture and let it boil all together.

    Love this recipe, very much like my uncle’s recipe, which I’ve used for years. He used to put a few drops of rose flower water into the syrup, but for me this is an acquired taste!

  51. Monica

    Don’t be intimidated by the phyllo! It’s ok if it breaks a little bit, as you are using many layers. I make this stuff every holiday season, even put it in colored saran wrap and put it decorative tins as gifts for the holidays. People love it! I make several variations and separate them into little packages in the tin.

    Here are some of those variations, but anyone can get creative with the flavors they love… this is the most versatile dessert.

    For the syrup I always make 1 part simple syrup (1 cup sugar, 1 cup water) to 1 part honey. Then I add other flavors as such-

    Chocolate: I sprinkle some Ghiradelli powder between some layers, then add some melted chocolate baker’s bars on top with the syrup.

    Ginger: I add some ground ginger to the nut mixture and boil (peeled) ginger root with the water I use to make the simple syrup.

    Orange: just add a teaspoon of orange extract to the syrup (instead of vanilla if you use vanilla in the syrup). Garnish with some orange zest if desired for added spunk. Absolutely delicious! This has to be my own personal favorite. (though the chocolate lovers have to dispute that with the chocolate variation)

  52. SaLena

    This was amazing. I made it last night, after a particularly annoying day at work. I have to say, I found all the buttering and layering theraputic and left the kitchen in a much better mood. And then I had a delicious snack! Awesome recipe, awesome results!

  53. faidi

    I enjoy making and eating BAKLAWA (middle eastren people usually say it with w.
    what I do not like about the above reciepe is the fact the syrup is too sweet for me, so I have replaced the sugar in the syrup as well as the mix with GLUCOSE powder volume for volume and was a blast.

  54. Kristine

    Someone made a mention to rolling the Baklava into neat little rolls. I saw this done at an actual restaurant in Athens, Greece and I would really like to try it because I have a feeling it will yield more baklava. I’m making this for my classmates tomorrow night and need to know how long I should bake it if I make it this way.

    Not sure, never made them that way. Probably a similar cooking time. Try it out and let us know how it works. ~Garrett

  55. DH

    This was wonderful!! It was VERY easy to make, although it does take a while because you have to layer the dough one sheet at a time, brushing each sheet with butter. The hardest part is waiting four hours before eating any of it! :D

  56. gissie

    I just love it, thanks for the recipe!

  57. TXBreadMan

    My second time to making baklava; my first time in 10 years. And oh so delicious with so many flavors.

    My children (9 and 13) were my assistants and loved painting on the butter and helping to keep moist towel on phyllo. Much easier with 2 people working in tandem, 1 laying phyllo layers and 1 painting with butter.

    First, let me say the key is being organized and having all the prep done BEFORE you start to assemble.

    Second, I made the syrup first. equal parts 1C sugar/honey, 1tsp vanilla, 2TBSP Orange liquor, 1/4C 10yr Tawny Port, 1/2 C water, zest of a whole orange, 1tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves/allspice, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, pinch of salt. cool to room temp

    Next, prep all the nuts. I used a combination of walnuts/almonds/pistachios/Brazilian nuts with 1/2 C Sugar, 2 heaping Tsp Cinnamon, 4 Tsp allspice ground, 1tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cloves, pinch of salt – mixed well. about 4C total.

    I used 40 sheets of phyllo. #sheets per layer – 10/6/6/6/8/4 – with about 1/3C – 1/2 C nuts per layer with a lite sprinkle of nuts (1/4C) on the next to last layer (after 8, before final 4).

    I put 2 tsp rose water with 1/4 cup water and sprinkled it between layers of nuts with my hands (didn’t have a spray bottle, but will next time).

    I used a total of 1 C butter (2 sticks). I did not clarify, but I am sure it would be better if you did.

    I used a pizza cutter as previously suggested and this works great… be careful not to cut all the way.

    Baked @325 for ~60 mins util lightly brown.

    I immediately poured the cold syrup over the hot Baklava. And, then of course, had to try a piece before it was cooled.

    Total time: 30 prep (including 10min for syrup)
    30-45 min assembly time
    50-60 cook time
    8 hours setup time (left it uncovered over night)….

    Next morning it was ready for kids to take to school for dessert.. A little soggy.. guessing I used too much butter or I need to clarify butter which I will do next time…

    But over all… better than any I have ever purchased.. Take the time to make it with your kids. You will not regret it and you will teach them how to cook something.

    James.

    Thanks for your rundown. As for sogginess, it’s usually too much butter combined with using way too much syrup spooned over too quickly. Slowly spoon on the syrup, allow the phyloow and nuts to soak it up over time. ~Garrett

  58. will

    It all seemed pretty straight forward. Here in London we get the filo pastry in the fridge section of the supermarket and its really easy to use, doesn’t dry out and just a pleasure to deal with. Not sure I got the syrup to thicken properly but I have done syrups in the past and they have totally hardened up on me once cool so I was wary of that. Any way it just came out of the oven and Elise won’t let me try for 4 hours so patiently waiting. Looks brilliant!

  59. will

    One more thing. I bought a pound of filo(2 packs) and found that I only had enough sheets when doing 8 layers at the bottom and then saving 8 for the top for just two layers of nuts in the middle. Think it will be ok but recipe made it sound like I would have at least three or more layers of nuts.

  60. Monique

    I made this recipe the other day and it turned out amazing! It got great reviews too! I substituted the cloves for cardamom as others said to do. I also included an orange peel in the syrup while it was heating which added a nice flavor. I couldn’t find fresh pistachios (went to 3 places) so I used 1/2 pound of almonds and a 1/2 pound of walnuts, which I really liked.

    Although I had planned to make this, I bought the phyllo dough the day of (didn’t know it had to defrost over night) so I did a “emergency thaw” on the counter top for about 3 hours and it somehow worked out okay. Although I was spazzing a little about the dough and used a lot more butter than the recipe called for, it came out great and I am going to make it again tomorrow cause I love it so much! Thanks!

  61. Vivi81

    I’m Greek and I submit to you that nobody makes baklava better than we do. Furthermore, if you are saying that baklava has Byzantine origins, then it cannot be Turkish in origin. The Byzantine Empire was a Greek empire.

  62. Joanie

    Just made this recipe, but have yet to taste. It is cooling on my counter as I type. The syrup did not thicken up as much as I expected (it may in time) but this is by far the simplest way (I have found) to get excellent baklava.

    I used a combination of pecans and black walnuts (my favorites) with ginger, clove, cardamom, and cinnamon. If it tastes as good as it looks & smells, this will become a new holiday staple.

    Also, unless people are making their own filo dough, I have no qualms with this recipe. Not difficult or really that time consuming at all. From start to finish it took me about an hour (including baking) and I have 5 nut layers. Very simple, relaxing, and looks divine!

  63. Christina Brock

    I enjoy cooking, but I definitely consider myself a beginner. I have never baked a cake from scratch, or anything of the such, but I did make this Baklava and it turned out PERFECT. I followed the directions and kept the dough covered with a damp cloth so it did not dry out and get flaky before baking. It was very time consuming, so make sure you have a lot of time to kill, of course, it was well worth it! I will be printing out this recipe and keeping it in my stash!

  64. Uma

    I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a long time and finally made it for a new years party last night and the results were great. It was much easier than I expected and the trick as other people mentioned was to have a clear workspace that allowed fast assembly. I also found that I only used up around half the butter, so maybe the next time I’ll only melt a stick of butter.

  65. Elsa

    I should’ve known I’d find exactly what I was looking for here. :) I have a baklava recipe that I’ve been using for years and everyone has always raved about it and loved it. Except for one Greek friend. He said he prefers a lighter version made by making a syrup rather than just warming honey to pour over the top but when I hinted that I’d love to have an authentic Greek recipe from his family he clammed up. Thanks, Costa. Thanks a lot.
    Anyway, I’m pretty sure he meant something along the lines of what you’ve posted here so I’m going to give it a try. Thanks again. You have so many good recipes here.

  66. Elsa

    I also wanted to add that you might try the following to keep the phyllo from drying out. Dampen a dishtowel, lay it on the counter, and put a sheet of plastic wrap over it. Put your cut to size phyllo on top. Put a sheet of plastic wrap over the phyllo and put another damp dishtowel over that. It will keep the moisture in without making the phyllo soggy.

  67. dana Flores

    I love mixing all the nuts together & definetly using cardamom more so then clove. But mostly the syrup is where I will use orange blossom water or rose water it makes it very heady & perfumed. Which is amazing for the senses; it is a very sensuous dessert.

  68. Susan

    I’ve been asked to make Baklava for a wedding.
    My problem is I will be out-of-town for the two weeks before the wedding. I have gotten conflicting info. regarding whether or not Baklava can be frozen. What is the best method, before or after baking, before or after adding syrup? The best situation for me would be to bake, cool and then put into individual cupcake holders so it is ready to go for the wedding. What do you think?

    To be honest, I wouldn’t freeze this at all. The dough is simply too delicate to be refrozen again after it’s laid out. The recipe as a whole only take about 30 minutes of active time. ~Garrett

  69. Asha Martins

    Love your recipe! I tweaked it slightly: green cardamom and nutmeg instead of cloves and cinnamon, orange blossom water and the juice of seville orange instead of lemon. Also, used orange flower honey in the syrup – bec that’s all I had in the pantry.

    The result: delicately crunchy, delightfully decadent but without that temple-aching sweetness. The orange came through as a delicate perfume while the spices performed softly in the background. This truly is an excellent recipe. Thank you so much!

  70. Shannon

    Melt the butter- put it in a spray bottle- faster than brushing and the dough doesn’t crinkle.

  71. Dan

    Great recipe! I didn’t have a problem following.

  72. Michelle

    A decent recipe, but unless you like tangy and lemony, I feel it calls for far too much lemon juice. If you do follow this recipe, I would suggest using the fresh squeezed juice of a real lemon instead of the bottled lemon juices available at the supermarket – which now contain citric acid, lemon oil, and other additional lemon flavorings. I made the mistake of using lemon juice from the bottle, and my baklava ended up tasting like lemon drops. Very tangy and lemony – overpowered the delicate honey and nuts completely.

  73. Kate

    I visited Turkey many times and I know how good baklava tastes. This recipe is great! Tastes and looks fantastic! Just like best Turkish baklava! I just wanted to add that it is convinient to use 13x9x2″ pan and to cut dough in half. It makes more layers and I used almost 2 cups of butter. When dough is hot the syrup must be cold. Thank you Garrett and thanks to Elise for the wonderful site!

  74. Tom

    Walking along a small street in CORFU GREECE last May, found a small bake shop. Displayed were cookies, pastry, and five different baklava. Chocolate, Apple, Nut, and two others. They were shaped like small turnovers and cut on one side and dripping with sauce. Bought a box of six, returned to the ship and was turned away with my pastry. Met up with seven of my party and was able to finish our hoard overlooking the harbor. Priceless.

    Using your recipe, added an apple layer and the last was mini- morsels of semisweet chocolate. Added hot sauce to the cool baklava with some apple juice from the sauteed apples. Sauce ran off the top of the pastry into the joints. Would not stick to the surface. Didn’t puff up much(no 4 phyllo). Will try the 40 sheets next time. Cooked at 350 F for 50-60 min.

    Wife had a small bite and began singing Sweet Mystery of Life.

    Don’t worry about the syrup running down the cracks. That is normal. It will soak up. Plus, you want the top sticky and crispy.=) ~Garrett

  75. Alry

    My mom gave me her recipe and it’s amazing!!! For the nuts she uses peacans.

  76. mamamorelli

    I can’t wait to try the version you have here. An old Greek friend taught me to make it with toasted ground macadamia nuts, toasted coconut, and finely ground pecans with some brown sugar and allspice (aka nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon). I make it every Christmas (by request) and it is now part of our Feast of the Seven Fishes. I think next time I make it I will try this version!

  77. Hamid

    Thank you for sharing this recipe, to those who said earlier they are terrible in the kitchen,I can honestly tell you making this Baklava was incredibly easy. Just follow this easy instructions to the T.To the guy who asked where to purchase Phyllo, you can get it at any local grocery store.They are in the frozen section.I just wanted to add that I add Rose water (which also can be found at your local store) and a little vanilla for flavor. It makes a huge difference, believe me this one is my 2nd time making it in less than a month. They are very addictive, specially with a cup of tea in the evening. Enjoy friends.

  78. Alison

    I have one question, I have a friend I want to make this for that doesn’t eat refined sugar…. Suggestions? I was thinking of just using some raw sugar in the nut mix and increasing the honey in the syrup.

    Sounds good to me. ~Garrett

  79. Maria

    I use a bit thicker samosas pastry sheets from Asian shops and just place one whole sheet,then spread some oil or melted butter over it,then another whole sheet (or 2 next to each other if the baking tray is long) and then I sprinkle a mixture of ground and chopped walnuts,almonds,raisins,sugar and cinnamon,then two layers of pastry,then the mixute and again like that,pastry the last layer brushed with oil/butter.I fold the sticking out pastry egdes/corners. I bake the baklava and then prick it with knife and soak in the sugar/water/lemon juice syrup.Very quick.

  80. Kimberly

    My husband is allergic to chocolate, so I’m always looking for little treats to surprise him. He loves baklava. Every year, we order several pans from our local Greek Orthodox Church during their bake sale.

    Now that I have this recipe, we won’t need to wait for a bake sale. This is incredible. And honestly, one of the easiest baklava recipes I’ve found so far. And so delicious! It borders on sinful. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving me something I can surprise the hubby with for Christmas and just because.

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