Greek Baklava

January 26, 2010 · 44 comments

in desserts/sweets,greek

I seriously don’t know how I  have managed to have this blog for over three years and never blog baklava. Surely I have made baklava in that time but it’s always been something I take to work or over to a party, etc. so I guess I never remember to photograph it and write a post about it.   This time, too,  I made the baklava for my coworker’s birthday.  Making a whole tray of baklava for Tom and myself is not really a good idea – in many ways. This way, we still get to steal a couple pieces without going overboard.  Plus, I know my coworker’s a big fan, and I figured this would be a different departure from your standard birthday cake or cupcakes. (Last  year I actually brought her a Greek walnut cake, karidopita, which I have also apparently never managed to blog…).

Baklava varies by country.  Greek baklava tends to just be walnuts, while some other varieties (Turkish, Lebanese, etc.) use pistachios, almonds, etc. Any combination of nuts will be delicious, but I tend to  just stick to the basics and go with all walnuts.

Baklava is easy enough to make. I’ve never been a huge fan of working with phyllo, but so long as you work relatively quickly and are relatively patient, it’s fine.  In fact, this is one of the easier things to make with phyllo because everything just gets layered so if  you tear a sheet here or there, no biggie (and you should have a few extra sheets of phyllo leftover anyway, to replace any casualties).  I also keep a damp towel on the phyllo I am not working with, to keep it from cracking/breaking.

Although the layering takes a little time, everything still comes together quite easily as there aren’t many other ingredients or steps.  The finishing touch to the baklava is the syrup that gets poured over it, which soaks into all the layers and makes an indulgent, syrupy, delicious triangle of walnutty heaven. I make the honey syrup for pretty much every Greek dessert the same way, which is equal parts sugar, water, and honey. Many people use less honey, but I love honey, so I use a little more. I also don’t add sugar to my filling. Some do and some don’t, but the syrup is sweet enough for me (especially with extra honey) and permeates the baklava, so I don’t think sugar in the filling is necessary. By all means, add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the walnut mixture if you want it to be sweeter, though.

In my opinion, this is best made the day before it’s eaten.  The syrup gets a chance to soak in more, and besides, who doesn’t like having a chance to make something in advance instead of having to worry about it the day of?

Greek Baklava

print Printer Friendly Recipe

1 lb. walnuts (add a couple handfuls more if you want it nuttier)
1.5 heaping tsp. cinnamon
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. ground cloves (I tend to go toward the higher end, but it’s about what you want)
1 (16 oz.) package phyllo dough, thawed
1 cup unsalted butter, melted

Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
strip of lemon or orange peel, or a couple tsp. fresh lemon juice

Toast the walnuts, either in a dry skillet or a 300 degree oven, until fragrant.  Place in a food processor along with the cinnamon and cloves, and buzz until walnuts are pretty finely crushed (obviously you don’t want a powder, but no huge chunks, either).

Preheat the oven to 350.

Grease a 9×13 pan, and place one layer of phyllo at the bottom. Brush the phyllo with the melted butter, and then add another layer of phyllo, and brush with more butter. Continue this process until you have layered about 7 sheets of phyllo.

Spoon 1/4 of the nut mixture evenly over the top. Repeat the process of the phyllo/butter layering again, but this time only use about 5 sheets of phyllo. Continue the layering of the 5 sheets of phyllo and 1/4 of the mixture of walnuts.  Finish off with 7 layers of buttered phyllo (and don’t forget to brush butter on the top layer, too).

Using a sharp knife, cut your baklava into diamonds or triangles (at this point, you can also trim any ragged ends or phyllo that sticks out).  I used to do diamonds but mine were always a little funky shaped so now I just do triangles.  Place in the oven, and bake for about 50 minutes, until golden brown.

To make your syrup, combine all the ingredients and bring to a low boil. Turn the heat to simmer and simmer about 10-15 minutes.  Allow the syrup to cool before pouring over the hot-from-the-oven-baklava. Alternatively, you can pour hot syrup over a cooled baklava. It’s your choice, just remember one has to be hot and the other shouldn’t be.

Related Articles:



{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Noelle January 26, 2010 at 10:02 am

WOW! I am making this for sure. I am glad to have a nice recipe! Thanks!

Reply

Peter January 26, 2010 at 10:12 am

Elly, the Baklava is fab, more than one one to make it and yours certainly catches the eye. Nicely done!

Reply

Cathy January 26, 2010 at 10:16 am

Thanks for the recipe! I’ve been intimidated to try making baklava for years, but this looks easy enough. Looks like one of the ones I used to get at a local bakery. yum!

Reply

Kierstan January 26, 2010 at 10:41 am

I’ve made baklava a few years ago for an Olympic themed party – might have to try this one in a few weeks!

Reply

Meghan January 26, 2010 at 10:45 am

Your Baklava looks perfect!! It slices so beautifully. My sister LOVES baklava – all kinds. I can’t have it because of my nut allergy, but I have been tempted to make it w/o nuts…although I’m not sure how that would turn out considering the nuts are such an integral part of the dessert!

Reply

Jen January 26, 2010 at 10:54 am

This looks really delicious! Thanks for sharing!

Reply

nina January 26, 2010 at 11:57 am

This is not something that I would have easily attempted …up until now. Wow, Thanks you made it sound so easy!!!

Reply

Erin January 26, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I love baklava, especially prepared like this. It looks delicious!

Reply

Jenn January 26, 2010 at 1:24 pm

OMG gorgeous!!! I puffy heart baklava so much….

Do you have any good recipes for making phyllo dough from scratch? I’d love to try my hand at a gluten free phyllo dough to try to make this recipe…

Reply

elly January 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Jenn, I’ve never made phyllo from scratch, but Peter at Kalofagas has and it looks great. My grandma always makes her own and it’s SO good but I have yet to experiment or get her recipe. Here’s Peter’s recipe: http://kalofagas.ca/2008/02/09/spanakopita/

Reply

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul January 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm

One of my faves!…yay to more kanela! I would love to see your recipe for karidopita too..please.

Reply

elly January 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Well, I certainly don’t need an excuse to make a karidopita, so I will try to make one soon and get the recipe up here. I actually bought some paximathia the other day because I happened to come across them, which is not always the easiest thing to do.

Reply

Dimitry Mishchuk January 26, 2010 at 2:44 pm

I love baklava, I wish I had some now so I could enjoy it with my coffee.

Reply

Mrs. Mordecai January 26, 2010 at 3:03 pm

My husband challenged me to make this, so thank for the instructions. I’ll definitely be using them when I get around to it!

Reply

bellini valli January 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm

I just love this Greek treasure but you are right it doesn’t pay to have an entire tray on hand:D

Reply

tinnybeany January 27, 2010 at 1:17 am

I think I have 6 recipes for Baklava now!
Eeeek! and I’ve never made a single one…
Soon, very soon.

Reply

azita January 27, 2010 at 10:29 am

love baklava! I make it with pistachios and walnuts. Yours looks really good and delicious! Next time I’m going to use walnuts only.

Reply

Elizabeth January 27, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Delicious! One of the best Greek sweets…
That photo killed me !

Reply

Kerstin January 28, 2010 at 12:19 am

Awesome, thanks Elly! I just saved the recipe and will definitely be making it!

Reply

Michelle {Brown Eyed Baker} January 28, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Yes! The baklava! To everyone else – Elly was kind enough to share this recipe with me before Thanksgiving and I made it for two separate family functions. It was a HUGE hit – everyone loved it!

Reply

elly January 28, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Thanks, Michelle. I’m so glad everyone liked it! :)

Reply

Choclette January 29, 2010 at 2:26 am

I love baklava too and homemade is so much nicer than shop bought. Having said that, the best I ever tasted was from a baker in Alexandria, Egypt – yum yum. I make mine with a mixture of almonds, walnuts and pistachios.

Reply

Ivy January 30, 2010 at 11:59 am

This is awesome Elly, I’ve been drooling all the way reading your post.

Reply

Amy I. January 30, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Hi Elly! I just came across your blog looking for a baklava recipe (Jenn of Jenn Cuisine sent me). Will be making this tomorrow, can’t wait! And it’s nice to “meet” you :)

Reply

elly January 30, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Amy! Hope you like the baklava :)

Reply

Sean January 31, 2010 at 5:25 pm

You should know that this site is using your image, possibly without your permission. They appropriated one of mine as well (and have since taken it down). Since they derive revenue from ads on their site, I thought you should know that someone is making money on your work.

http://www.happyhappyjoyjoy.net/2010/01/greek-baklava-elly-says-opa/

P.S. The baklava looks delicious!

Reply

elly February 1, 2010 at 8:17 am

Thanks for letting me know, Sean!

Reply

tobias cooks! February 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm

It is so sweet but I just cant stop eating Baklava when i have it in front of me.

Reply

Ashley February 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Fellow pregnant Greek lady now desperately craving baklava! Can’t wait to make some!

Reply

kristin April 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm

This was my second time making baklava and I really liked your recipe. It was very easy and very tasty! I’ll definitely be making it again! Thanks!

Reply

Kimberly May 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm

I am so excited to give this a try. I love Greek food, but have never attempted this. You make it look pretty straight-forward. Thank you.

Reply

morgan brooke henry March 2, 2011 at 7:30 pm

hey im making this for my class room project and i think that it is going to be good

Reply

Dawn March 21, 2011 at 8:21 am

I made these yesterday…and they were soooo good! My husband loved them so much he said he could eat the whole plate (he opted against this and brought some to work today!) Thanks for the delicious recipe!

Reply

elly March 21, 2011 at 9:08 am

So glad you and your husband liked it, Dawn!

Reply

lorraine s. April 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm

thanks for this…I’m making it for Easter!!! (my favie holiday)

Reply

Amanda May 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm

This looks amazing. Next time my dad comes to visit, I’m making him some – baklava is one of his favorite things! I was going to make some for his birthday but worried it wouldn’t stay fresh in the mail.

Reply

Jessie March 16, 2013 at 10:04 pm

My son made baklava using this recipe for a Greek food project for his social studies class, and it was the best baklava I have ever had. (He got an A+). I made it again today using this same recipe. It does not fail.

Reply

elly March 16, 2013 at 10:26 pm

How fun, Jessie! So glad you liked it.

Reply

Lene March 24, 2013 at 6:29 am

I made this last night for my book club, and it was DELISH!! I’ve made several not so memorable baklava recipes but this is one that I am definitely keeping! (I am a half Greek girl that grew up in Chicago ;-) ). Thanks for sharing!

Reply

elly March 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Glad you liked it!

Reply

greek cuisine April 22, 2014 at 8:28 pm

by just looking at the photos oh its so mouth watering. i’ll make one for sure. thanks for sharing!

Reply

{ 3 trackbacks }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: