Baklawa

Baklawa is an Ottoman heritage that Algerians prepare for festive occasions. The tasty pastry is made up of puff pastry filled with almonds, and chopped walnuts, and drizzled with natural honey.

What is Baklawa?

Baklawa or Baklava is a sweet dessert made of layers of flaky phyllo pastry filled with crushed nuts and sweetened with honey syrup.

Traditional baklawa, also known as fistikli baklawa or pistachio baklava is typically made of phyllo dough, finely crushed pistachios, butter, and a simple syrup made of sugar, water, and lemon juice.

Baklawa Recipe

You’ll find many variations of this beautiful dessert from Middle Eastern baklava, where the  simple syrup is scented with rosewater, to Greek baklava with walnuts and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon within.

When making this baklava recipe, it helps to think of the ingredients list in three different components:

  1. Phyllo pastry
  2. Nut mixture- pistachios, walnuts, hazelnut, sugar, ground cinnamon, pinch of ground cloves. You can change the nut mixture according to what you have. For example, you can use just walnuts or pistachios, but be sure to have enough of whichever nut you use. And if you’re not a fan of cinnamon, you can omit that.
  3. Honey syrup- water, sugar, honey, and lemon juice. To infuse the syrup with more flavor, I add two more completely optional items, orange extract and whole cloves.

Tips for Making the Best Baklava

  1. Prepare your honey syrup ahead. It’s important that the honey syrup is cool when it hits the freshly-baked hot baklava. This way, the hot baklava layers will absorb as much of the syrup as possible and you’ll have perfectly honeyed baklava. You have enough time to make the syrup while the baklava is baking, but be sure you take it off heat and set it in a cool place.
  2. Chop the nuts well, but don’t grind them too finely into a paste or powder. Obviously you don’t want the nuts nestled in the baklava to be too big or make it hard to bite on the beautiful pastry. But be sure not to grind the nuts too finely that you end up with dust for your filling. You want to still be able to taste the nuts and enjoy their texture.
  3. Cut the assembled baklava into pieces before baking. So important, before you bake it, use a sharp knife to cut the pastry into pieces (I cut my baklava into larger diamond shaped pieces.  You can usually get about 24 up to 36 pieces depending on their size). Why cut it before you bake it? Because once phyllo pastry is baked, it’s super crunchy and if you try to cut through it then, it’ll break into a mess.
  4. Make your baklava one night in advance!  Hooray for the perfect make-ahead dessert! Baklava is even better the next day when it’s had a chance to completely soak in the honey syrup. You can store it covered at room temperature for one night. Be sure it is completely cooled before you cover it (so important).

Storage

Baklawa is one of the few desserts you can make a few days ahead. It will keep well for up to 2 weeks stored in an air-tight glass container at room temperature or in the fridge.

You can freeze already baked baklava for up to 4 months, if you like. It’s good to store it in small batches so you don’t have to thaw out the entire pan when you need a treat. Thaw in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for a few hours.

Be Sure to Try These Other Authentic Algerian dishes!

Be sure to recreate this incredible Algerian dessert . Bon appétit! 

Baklawa Recipe

Natasha
This baklawa is flaky, crisp, tender and perfectly balanced with the honey-lemon syrup. This homemade baklava is so much better than any store-bought version.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Algerian
Servings 30
Calories 255 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 16 oz phyllo dough thawed by package instructions
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter 10 oz or 2 1/2 sticks, melted
  • 1 lb walnuts finely chopped, (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Melted chocolate chips & chopped walnuts for garnish optional

Instructions
 

  • Thaw phyllo dough by package instructions (this is best done overnight in the fridge, then place it on the counter for 1 hr before starting your recipe to bring it to room temp).
  • Trim phyllo dough to fit your baking dish. My phyllo package had 2 rolls with a total of 40 sheets that measured 9x14 so I had to trim them slightly. You can trim one stack at a time then cover with a damp towel to keep from drying out.
  • Butter the bottom and sides of a 13x9 non-stick baking pan.
  • Start with your honey sauce (which needs time to cool as baklawa bakes).
  • In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup honey, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil over med/high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then reduce heat to med/low and boil additional 4 min without stirring. Remove from heat and let syrup cool while preparing baklawa.
  • How to make Baklawa: Preheat Oven to 325˚F.
  • Pulse walnuts 10 times in a food process or until coarsely ground/ finely chopped. In a medium bowl, stir together: 4 cups finely chopped walnuts and 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • Place 10 phyllo sheets into baking pan one at a time, brushing each sheet with butter once it's in the pan before adding the next (i.e. place phyllo sheet into pan, brush the top with butter, place next phyllo sheet in pan, butter the top, etc. etc.). Keep remaining phyllo covered with a damp towel at all times. Spread about 1/5 of nut mixture (about 3/4 cup) over phyllo dough.
  • Add 5 buttered sheets of phyllo, then another layer of nuts. Repeat x 4. Finish off with 10 layers of buttered phyllo sheets. Brush the very top with butter.
  • Cut pastry into 1 1/2" wide strips, then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes. Bake at 325˚F for 1 hour and 15 min or until tops are golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and immediately spoon cooled syrup evenly over the hot baklawa (you'll hear it sizzle). This will ensure that it stays crisp rather than soggy. Let baklawa cool completely, uncovered and at room temp. For best results, let baklava sit 4-6 hours or overnight at room temperature for the syrup to penetrate and soften the layers. Garnish baklawa with finely chopped nuts or drizzle with melted chocolate. Store at room temp, covered with a tea towel for 1 to 2 weeks.

Notes

Here's the order of the Baklava Layers:
10 buttered phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nut mixture,
5 buttered phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nut mixture,
5 buttered phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nut mixture,
5 buttered phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nut mixture,
5 buttered phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nut mixture
10 buttered phyllo sheets and butter the top.

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Blessing Funmilayo Ogunsanya
Hello, my name is Funmilayo, and i love to write about food, beauty, fashion and wellness. So welcome to my Food world! I share histories, discoveries, uniqueness, tips, and tricks on different dishes .Come let's take this adventure together. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do and hope to see you back here again soon.

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