Today is all about how to make baklava! You will find different recipes for this beloved dessert throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East. This baklava recipe has a bit of a Greek twist to it. Be sure to check out the video and step-by-step photos below the recipe!
When you grow up eating baklava at every gathering, you become a bit of a baklava snob. At least I did. So I’ve been on a quest to make the best baklava.
What qualifies for the “best” baklava?
To me, it starts with perfectly crisp, yet appropriately honeyed layers of phyllo. The right amount of nuts; I like a mix of pistachios, walnuts, and hazelnut. And finally, a hint of cinnamon spice nestled in between.
There is almost nothing as satisfying to me as biting down a crunchy piece of baklava drenched in honey syrup. That’s why it’s my dessert of choice for special occasions and holidays!
Important tip for How to Make Baklava
If you have not made bakalava before, here is one very helpful tip that should set you up for success: before you begin assembling your baklava, place the thawed phyllo sheets in between two clean and slightly damp kitchen towels. This helps the phyllo sheets remain lenient so they won’t tear or break too much.
You can see a few more tips for working with phollo dough here.Print
- 6 oz shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 6 oz walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 6 oz hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- large pinch of ground cloves
- 16-oz package phyllo dough, thawed
- 18 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 cup honey
- 1 tbsp orange extract
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 lemon, juice of
- Set aside 3-4 tbsp of chopped pistachios for garnish. Combine the remaining chopped nuts in a mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar, cinnamon, and ground cloves. Stir to mix.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Unroll phyllo and measure briefly against a 13 “x 9″ x 2” baking pan. Trim a little of the phyllo to better fit your baking dish.
- Now spread the phyllo sheet on top of a damp towel, and cover with a second damp towel. This will help keep the phyllo dough from breaking while you work to assemble the baklava.
- Lightly brush the baking dish with a bit of the melted butter. Take one sheet of phyllo and line the baking pan with it, fold in any excess. Brush the phyllo sheet with butter and gently press in the corners and sides of the baking pan.
- Lay another phyllo sheet on top, brush with butter, and press into the pan as you have done with the first sheet. Lay another sheet on top, brush with butter, and press into the pan as before. Continue layering and buttering each phyllo sheet until you have used up 1/3 of the phyllo package. Distribute half of the nut mixture evenly over the top sheet.
- Layer another 1/3 of the phyllo following the same process as before. Now distribute the remaining half of the nut mixture over the top layer.
- Layer the remaining phyllo sheets following the same process as before.
- If needed, trim off excess phyllo. Generously brush the very top layer of phyllo with butter.
- With a knife, cut diagonal lines, 1/2 inch deep, in the phyllo to make out 1 1/2 inch diamond pieces. Do not press the knife all the way down.
- Bake on a low rack for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. IMPORTANT…Because ovens vary, be sure to check your baklava half way through baking.
- While the baklava is baking, make the honey syrup. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat stove-top, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Add the honey, orange extract, and whole cloves; stir to mix. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove syrup from heat and let cool to lukewarm. Add lemon juice. Remove the whole cloves.
- When ready, remove the baklava from the oven and immediately pour the cooled honey syrup to cover the entire hot baklava. Let set to completely absorb the syrup.
- A few hours later, cut the baklava carefully through the earlier marked pieces. Serve with a garnish of chopped pistachios.
Step-by-step photos for how to make baklava
Combine the nuts in a bowl.
Add sugar, ground cinnamon, ground cloves. Stir to mix!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Measure phyllo sheets against your baking pan (13″x 9″x 12″ non-glass pan is best). Trim slightly so you don’t have too much excess. Then place the phyllo sheets between two clean and damp cloths.
Brush baking pan with melted butter (or a mixture of butter and olive oil if you like).
Lay the first sheet of phyllo to line the pan. Brush with butter. Fold in excess at the edges and press in the corners and sides of the pan.
Continue layering and buttering each phyllo sheet until you have used up 1/3 of the phyllo package.
Distribute 1/2 of the nut mixture over the top sheet.
Now layer another 1/3 of the phyllo package in the same way (one-sheet-at-a-time, brushing with butter, and folding the edges). Spread the second 1/2 of the nut mixture.
Layer the final 1/3 of the phyllo following the same process as before.
Trim any excess with a pair of scissors.
Brush the very top layer of phyllo with butter. Cut diagonal lines about 1/2 inch deep to form diamond shapes (do not cut all the way through).
Bake on a low rack for 45 minutes to an hour. Check the baklava about 30 minutes through baking as some ovens are too strong. You want the baklava to be golden brown and crispy.
While baklava is baking, make the syrup. Make sure the syrup has time to cool.
Immediately when you remove the baklava from the oven, pour the cool syrup evenly on top. Let it sit for a few hours so the syrup has been absorbed completely, then cut through with a sharp knife and serve! You should have 24-36 baklava pieces.