Friday, October 12, 2012

Food on Friday: Baklava

I attended a baby shower recently. I also brought a few treats to share. The theme was a tea party, and since I honestly don't drink much tea (only herbal when I do; don't hate the non-tea-drinking southern girl!) I wasn't sure what kinds of treats or pastries go with tea.

After some research, I found a lot of suggestions. But I saw one that stood out to me because it's something I'd been wanting to try making for quite a while.

I love baklava. I remember trying it as a kid and wondering if it was what God serves in heaven.

So I tried making it myself. Here's the recipe I used, with the adjustments I made to it.


Makes 24+ servings, depending on how they're cut.

3 cups coarsely ground walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
24 sheets thawed phyllo dough (half a 1 lb box)
2 cups melted butter (1 lb)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup honey
1/2 of a lemon with peel on, sliced
1/2 of an orange peel
1-2 cinnamon sticks
8-10 whole cloves

In a medium bowl, combine the nuts, ground cinnamon, cloves, and sugar. 
Using a basting brush, butter the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with melted butter, place a single sheet of phyllo dough in bottom of buttered pan. Brush butter over the top of the sheet of dough. Place another sheet over that, butter it, and repeat until 8 sheets have been layered and buttered.

Sprinkle 3/4 cup of nut and spice mixture over the 8th sheet. Layer and butter 2 sheets of dough, then sprinkle another 3/4 cup of the nut and spice mixture. Repeat 4 times (or more as desired).

Layer and butter 6 more phyllo sheets (or however many sheets are left). 

Using a sharp knife, cut through all the layers creating a triangle or diamond pattern.

Bake at 300° until golden brown, about 1 hour.

While the baklava is baking, combine the syrup ingredients in a saucepan, making sure sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat a little to keep from boiling over. Boil for 15 minutes. Strain and cool.

Once baklava is removed from oven, pour syrup evenly over the top. Let cool.

Serve in muffin cups for easy finger-food.


Some tips and suggestions:

The phyllo dough will usually come frozen. Thaw it out for 2 hours before using it.

Phyllo dough is really ridiculously thin and fragile. Prepare everything prior to baking and then open the dough last.

The dough needs to stay perfectly damp. If it gets too dry, it breaks, but if it gets too wet, it sticks to itself and rips. To achieve this, put a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap over the open and unrolled phyllo dough, and then a damp cloth over that. If you put just the damp cloth on the dough, it makes it way too wet. Uncover, remove a sheet of dough, then re-cover the rest while you butter or sprinkle nutty stuff.

Also, work quickly, but not sloppily. The longer the dough sits out, the more of a chance it has to dry out, even with a damp cloth over it.

It's okay if it does rip. It's a flaky dessert anyway, so if you have 3 or 4 pieces of one sheet for some of the layers, don't worry about it. You're just going to cut it up into little pieces to serve it.

When you pour the syrup over the baked dough + filling, it sizzles and steams because the pan came right out of the oven. Be prepared for that.

If you find that you have way more filling than you think belongs in the middle, try sprinkling the last of it on top after you've poured the syrup over it. Personally, I don't think you can ever have too much nutty-spiced deliciousness.

Make this a day or two ahead of time. It's better if it sits and absorbs all the flavors for a day or so before eating it.

Doesn't that just make you drool a little? 
I must make more.


  1. Those look amazing Janae. I just recently tasted these heavenly yummies for the first time ever... and fell in love! I'm pinning this!


  2. My family is Russian and baklava is definitely a staple item in our diets. This recipe is spot–on & that says a lot!

  3. Okay, this is the best looking baklava recipe I've seen so far. I might have to be brave and finally try it!!

  4. can't go wrong with a pound of butter ;-)

    seriously though these look great! i haven't made baklava in forever but just thinking about that orange syrup with cloves. . . yummmmm

  5. Yum, yum, yum! I'm going to try this ASAP!

  6. Baklava, sweet potato, rice pudding, Chocolate pudding and many more items that allow the customers to visit mostly to the store.