Baklava for breakfast this morning! Do not be intimidate by the thin flaky layers. Baklava is pretty simple to assemble when using a quality pre-made phyllo dough. Use a combination of your favorite nuts, raw or toasted. I like walnuts and pistachios the best. If using salted nuts, do not use salted butter (but I would suggest unsalted nuts). Please share if you have a favorite family Baklava recipe. I based mine off of one posted on allrecipes.com but would love a family rendition to try as well!
Want to make your own phyllo? Here is a useful video. But I am still buying mine for now.
Baklava – makes one 13 x 9 inch pan ; freezes well assuming it isn’t all eaten immediately
- 1 pound nuts, chopped
- 1 cup of butter, melted
- 16 oz phyllo dough defrosted (premade, in the freezer section)
- 1 large orange, zested (optional)
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon powder
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar!)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup honey (crystallized works great too)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extra or paste
- Defrost phyllo dough (filo dough?) according to package. This can take a few hours. Plan ahead. I didn’t and then gently defrosted in the microwave. Not recommending this as the sheets weren’t quite defrosted and then broke. But guess what, broken pieces of phyllo work just fine.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Melt the butter in a glass bowl or measuring cup
- Chop the nuts and put in a small mixing bowl. I use a nut grinder for this. Toss with cinnamon and orange zest. This is the filling!
- Layering the phyllo dough sheets takes the longest. You will have 6-8 sheets for the bottom and 6-8 sheets for the top. the rest of the baklava is based on layering two sheets, filling, two sheets, filling etc. Until your pan is full, you run out of phyllo or you run out of filling.
- Layer the sheets two at a time, brushing with butter as best you can. For bottom that means, one sheet, two sheet, brush with butter, three sheet, four sheet brush with butter, five sheet six sheet, brush with butter.
- Add a layer of filling. Just a little bit, light even sprinkle. Then one sheet, two sheet, brush with butter. Add filling… you get it by now. When you are nearing the end, repeat the top just like the botton, so you have a nice substantial top layer (one sheet, two sheet butter, three sheet four sheet butter……)
- Once all layers are in place, cut the squares in the pan before cooking.
- Place in the oven and a bake for 30-50 minutes. Why the variation? Well, i have had one batch that took 30 minutes to be flaky and brown and one about 50 minutes. I think it is related to one batch I didn’t use as much phyllo dough because I ran out of toppling (a few layers were maybe to heavy). But that is ok, this is really forgiving and flexible.
- It is done backing with brown and crispy.
- While baking, make the sweet syrup. Dissolve the granulated sugar in hot water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes then add the honey and keep simmering until baklava is done backing. stir in vanilla at the end.
- Remove the baklava from oven and spoon the hot syrup over the pastry. I used a spoon and repeated light application repeatedly. I don’t always use all the syrup (but when i do…) to avoid soggy bottom baklava.. Sad face.
- I strongly encourage you to eat a fresh from the oven corner piece. This is joyful and helps you with removing the rest of squares for storage. Do not store the pastry in the pan for long as it will get soggy. I store them in cupcake liners or on a plate.
- Rumor has it these freeze well and spring back to life with a quick warm up in the oven. But I haven’t had a chance to test this.