Baklava, a venerable pastry of Greek origin, is celebrated for its unique blend of sweetness, decadence, and exquisite layers of flaky goodness. A timeless confection that tantalizes the senses, baklava is a symphony of delicate phyllo (or filo) dough, a medley of aromatic nuts, a fragrant dusting of cinnamon, and a sumptuous bath of syrupy indulgence.
To craft this culinary masterpiece, you’ll need a carefully curated assembly of essential ingredients:
1. Phyllo Dough: The heart and soul of baklava, the phyllo pastry, plays a pivotal role in creating those paper-thin layers. You have the choice of either making your own phyllo pastry dough, a labor of love, or opting for the convenience of frozen phyllo dough readily available at your local store.
2. Nuts: A melange of nuts such as chopped walnuts, pistachios, or a delightful blend of both, is the cornerstone of the baklava’s distinct texture and taste. Should you wish to explore further, hazelnuts and pecans can also be harmoniously incorporated.
3. Butter: Luxurious butter, aside from imparting its own rich flavor, serves as the adhesive that binds the delicate phyllo sheets together. It ensures that each layer remains moist and tender, a crucial element in achieving baklava perfection.
4. Cinnamon: A pinch of cinnamon, that warm and fragrant spice, bestows baklava with its signature character, infusing it with a touch of comforting nostalgia.
5. Water, Sugar, Vanilla, and Honey: The syrup that crowns this sweet marvel is composed of a harmonious blend of water, sugar, vanilla extract, and honey. This elixir, when lovingly drizzled over the freshly baked layers, ties together the complex flavors, creating a dessert that’s as much a work of art as it is a delight to the taste buds.
With these foundational elements in hand, you are poised to embark on a culinary journey that will reward you with the sumptuous layers of Baklava, an embodiment of Greece’s culinary artistry and history.Print
Baklava is a delicious Greek dessert made up of layers of crispy phyllo dough, honey and nuts that’s so easy to make. A Greek friend showed me how to make this fabulous recipe.
- Prep Time: 1:00
- Cook Time: :40
- Total Time: 1:40
- Yield: 18 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Greek
1 (16 oz) pack Phyllo Pastry sheets
1 cup Butter (for greasing the pan & applying between the sheets and brushing on top)
2 tbsp Walnuts
2 tbsp Pecans
2 tbsp Pistachios
2 tbsp Almonds
1/2 – 3/4 tsp Cinnamon (adjust as per preference)
1/2 cup Sugar
4 Tbsp Honey/Agave nectar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Using a food processor/coffee-spice grinder, chop the nuts of your choice. You can do this by hand if you don’t have one of the earlier mentioned gadgets and also, you can omit the pecans and almonds. Walnuts and pistachios are kind of must. But don’t restrain yourself from making this if you don’t have walnuts or pistachios, they are delicious with any nuts!
- Toss the chopped nuts with cinnamon powder or add cinnamon to chopped nuts and pulse once in food processor.
- The Phyllo sheets are stored frozen but the day before I made Baklava, instead of freezing them I refrigerated it. Next day left it on the kitchen counter for approx 30 minutes before working with them. Another key step to keep in mind is to cover the phyllo sheets with damp (not dripping) kitchen towel to prevent them from drying. Cover after you take a sheet every time, they dry out quick as its very thin.
- Melt the butter (microwave or on stove)
- In a 9×9 inch pan, grease the bottom and sides of the pan. Place two sheets and butter thoroughly. Repeat the same process till 8 or 10 sheets are layered.
- Sprinkle an even layer of chopped mixed nuts with cinnamon. Place two sheets continue the butter, nuts process (I did a third layer too) and layer the top with 10 sheets applying butter after 2 or 3 phyllo sheets!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position racks in such a way you place baklava in the center of the oven. There are chances of having a top layer burnt baklava.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava all the way to the bottom in squares, rectangle or diamond shape. I read a simple yet great tip: to dip the knife in water a few times while cutting. This prevents the moist phyllo sheets or nuts sticking to the knife.
- Bake for 40 minutes. Check every few minutes in the last 10 minutes time as every oven is different. If the baklava doesn’t have a golden brown color, keep for few extra minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
For the sauce:
- Add sugar and water to a saucepan. Bring to boil and as the sugar is dissolved all the way, add honey/ agave nectar, vanilla extract and mix well.
- Stirring occasionally, simmer for 20-25 minutes until the sauce is little thick. You don’t have to reduced it down by boiling.
- Once the Baklava is baked, spoon the sauce over the baklava. I poured the sauce as soon as it came out of the oven. But many recipes mentioned about cooling the baklava first and then pouring it. There were also reviews that it really didn’t make much of a difference in taste and texture! So I concluded I will drape the sauce as soon as it comes out of oven.
- Let it sit on the kitchen counter for at least an hour uncovered. The Baklava becomes all soggy and mushy if covered.
- Arrange and serve them in individual mini- cupcake liners if you are hosting a party.
Can You Freeze Baklava?
Yes, you can definitely freeze baklava. Just let it cool completely, wrap it in a layer of storage wrap, and then a layer of aluminum foil. Follow with another layer of aluminum foil for added protection. Freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Keywords: Greek Baklava