Those of you who have ever heard of Baklava probably live close to Turkish or Greek restaurants or storefronts that sell Gyros will have heard of baklava. It’s a sticky-sweet dessert that seems easier to order than to make at home. But here’s a recipe that makes baklava such a wonderful exotic treat to make in your own kitchen.
Childhood Memories for Life
It seems like ages ago when I still had time for reading books, but one book that always comes to mind is The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. This opened my mind to fantasy worlds and adventures into parts of my imagination that I had never experienced before. When I think of baklava, I always get reminded of Turkish Delight, which isn’t exactly the same as baklava- I know…
Yet those who have tried super-tasty baklava, are typically willing to give up nearly anything to get their hands on some. And though, I’m not saying that you have to betray close friends (or allies for that matter), when you get the taste for a treat that is bewitchingly delicious, then it’s even harder to resist. There is something so seductive about baklava with all of those gooey layers of phyllo pastry, chopped nuts, butter, and honey!
Here is my favorite recipe for baklava that surely will find a treasured spot in your recipe book soon enough.
- Digital thermometer
- Medium-sized bowl
- Dry mixture
- Sharp knife
For The Syrup
- 3 Cups Sugar (or 2 cups sugar w/ 1 cup honey)
- 1 Cup Water
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup (optional)
- 2 Cinnamon sticks (3-5 inch variety)
- 4-6 Whole cloves (or teaspoon cardamom)
For The Filling
- 1 Pound Roasted almonds, pistachios, or walnuts (4 cups crushed or chopped nuts)
- ¼ Cup Granulated sugar
- 1-2 Teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- ¼ Teaspoon Ground cloves (or cardamom)
- 1 Pound Phyllo pastry dough (24 sheets)
- 1 Cup Melted butter (2 sticks)
- Starting on the syrup, you take a saucepan and use low heat. Add the water, sugar, lemon juice, corn syrup, cinnamon, and cloves into the saucepan and allow it to dissolve for at least 5 minutes. Stir this to increase the solution to dissolve faster.
- When this is dissolved, increase the heat to medium and allow this syrup to become thicker while boiling out the water content. If you have a candy thermometer or digital thermometer, the temperature should be no more than 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When the syrup is thick enough, remove the cinnamon sticks and the whole cloves and allow this to cool. This is when you can start the filling that will go into your baklava. Do this by combining all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and blending these together
- It’s easier to work with a dry mixture that will be sprinkled in between the Phyllo layers using butter to act as a temporary adhesive on the phyllo pastry. This is when you can preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You’ll need a baking pan no larger than 12 x 9 inches or any baking pan within these parameters that is at least 2 to 3 inches deep. This needs to be pre-greased with vegetable shortening or rub the sides of the pan with your sticks of butter.
- Now you can start to add a sheet of phyllo pastry at the bottom and brush this with a light layer of butter. Sprinkle the filling onto this surface giving at least ¼ inch thickness. Each layer that is complete has another layer of phyllo pastry placed on top and repeated.
- In the end, you should have at least 7 sheets (or layers of pastry) before adding another layer of filling. Be sure to cover the very top of this pastry with 8 overlapped edges that fold down into the tray.
- You will have 3 or more layers of filling between the buttery sheets of phyllo. The final step is to use a sharp knife to score the surface that measures 1-inch lines apart from each other with lengthwise strip cuts along the top. This is then followed by diagonal cuts that create a diamond pattern.
- These cuts will allow the heat to melt the sugar and secure the crushed nuts within. Before putting this into the oven, spray the top of the phyllo pastry with a little bit of cold water. This will keep the top layer from curling while it bakes.
- Place this baking tray into the oven for 20 minutes and then immediately reduce the heat to just 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 additional minutes. This allows the top of the baklava to become golden brown.
- Take a sharp knife and slice through the scribed lines down to the very bottom of the baklava. Your syrup should still be warm at this point so it can be drizzling into each of the sliced lines. Allow the syrup to completely absorb into the layers and let this cool for 4 hours.
- Your baklava can be stored at room temperature for at least one week (if it lasts that long).. If you don’t want to use all of your syrup, don’t go overboard with soaking the layers of phyllo too much. It might end up being too gooey or sticky to enjoy. (or not)… Enjoy!