Easy Baklava recipe
If you have a sweet tooth as I do, you will definitely like this baklava recipe, a sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with nut mixture and sweetened with honey or syrup. I remember the first time I tried it in Antalya. We had a long day of sightseeing and decided to take a break at this charming little cafe. As soon as I saw the baklava on the window display and I couldn’t resist trying it. The flaky layers of phyllo dough, the sweet and nutty filling, and the syrup drizzled on top all came together to create a truly delicious treat.
I ordered a piece and as soon as it arrived at our table, I could smell the sweet aroma of honey and nuts. I took a bite, and it was like nothing I had ever tasted before. The phyllo was light and flaky, the filling was sweet and nutty, and the syrup added just the right amount of sweetness. And after I tried Greek baklava in Bella Vista, I was completely hooked and ended up trying to bake it myself. And OMG what can be better than fresh, homemade baklava?
History of Baklava
Baklava is considered to be a delicacy, and it’s a popular sweet treat that is enjoyed all over the world. The exact origins of baklava are not known, but it is believed to have originated in the Middle East, possibly in the Ottoman Empire. The recipe for baklava was passed down from generation to generation, and over time different variations of the recipe have been created in different regions. Each country or region has its own unique take on the traditional recipe with its own special touches.
Nowadays, baklava is a popular dessert in Greek cuisine, as well as Turkish cuisine, and probably half a dozen other countries in the region. Unlike moussaka, Greeks don’t claim to have created baklava, but they do have their own little twist, and it’s super popular all over Greece. It also makes a great souvenir if you’re somewhere like Bodrum which is straddling the Greek island chain while still being a part of Turkey.
- Water 50 ml
- Rice syrup 100 ml
- Honey 100 ml
- Lemon juice (half of lemon)
- Walnuts (or any of your favourite nuts, pistachio or almond) 200 g
- Cinnamon 1 tsp
- Unsalted butter 200 g
- Phyllo dough 500 g
1.Collect ingredients for baklava.
2. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
3. Chop walnuts in a blender or a food processor. If you do not have a blender, your can just finely chop them with a knife.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the chopped walnuts and cinnamon.
5. Melt the butter on a low heat.
6. Take one phyllo sheet and lay it on a clean surface. Using a pastry brush, sprinkle the sheet with melted butter.
7. Repeat this process with one more sheet of phyllo, brushing it with butter.
8. Spread a thin layer of the nut mixture over the top of the phyllo layers.
9. Take two wooden skewers and place them at the edge of the phyllo sheets. Start rolling them up, but not too tight.
10. Gently press the edges to the middle creating folds, and remove the skewers.
11. Place the roll on a baking pan covered with baking paper.
12. Repeat the process with the remaining sheets of phyllo and nut mixture, creating several rolls.
13. Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava rolls into 5 pieces.
14. Brush the tops of the baklava rolls with the rest of the melted butter.
15. Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
16. In a saucepan, mix together the honey, syrup, lemon juice, and water. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.
17. Once the baklava is baked, remove it from the oven and immediately pour the honey-syrup mixture over the hot baklava rolls.
18. Let the baklava cool completely before serving. Even better if you leave the baklava to absorb the syrup overnight, or for several hours.
- Use good quality phyllo sheets: It’s important to use fresh, high-quality phyllo dough to ensure a flaky and crispy texture. If the dough is dry or has been frozen and thawed, it may become brittle and crack when you’re trying to layer it. You can easily find frozen phyllo dough in a Turkish supermarket or in the regular market in the freezer section next to pies and croissant dough.
- Keep the phyllo dough covered: Phyllo dough dries out quickly, so it’s important to keep it covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap while you’re working with it to prevent it from cracking or breaking.
- Brush the phyllo layers with butter: To achieve a crispy and flaky texture, it’s important to brush each layer of phyllo with butter or ghee. This helps to keep the layers from sticking together and also adds flavour.
- Use a good quality honey and syrup: The syrup is what gives baklava its characteristic sweetness, so it’s important to use good quality honey and syrup. You can also experiment with different types of syrups like maple syrup.
- Adjust the sweetness to your taste: Matt prefers sweeter baklava while I like it less sweet. Adjust the amount of sugar and honey in the recipe to suit your taste.
- Allow the baklava to cool completely before serving. This allows the syrup to be absorbed and the flavours to meld together.
- Store it correctly: Let the honey baklava cool before storing it in an airtight container. Baklava can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Experiment with different fillings: You can experiment with different fillings: finely crushed pistachios, and almonds.
- Have fun: Remember that making baklava is not an exact science and it is okay to make mistakes. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process.
Is baklava vegan?
Traditionally, baklava is not be considered vegan, as it contains butter and honey. However, there are variations and alternatives of the recipe which are vegan, usually the pastry uses plant based butter or oil and sweetened with agave or maple syrup. You can also find vegan baklava made with almond or soy milk and sweetened with coconut sugar.
Enjoy your baklava
Don’t forget to take a look at our other recipes from around the world while you’re here. We have a wide range, from crunchy granola for breakfast to a Greek dinner like beef stifado or pastitsada. And don’t forget our selection of desserts to go with your baklava too! Our strawberry cheesecake is an absolute must-try.
If you’re heading to Antalya or another place in Turkey, you’ll be able to compare homemade baklava with the locally made stuff!