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Baklava

January 31, 2011

I used filo pastry sheets for the first time in my life yesterday, and I made Baklava! And it’s the best Baklava that I’ve ever tried.

A testimonial from Bob: “I think that’s the best thing you’ve ever made! EVER!”

It is pretty darn tasty! I’m sure I’ll be making it again sometime. (Bob will insist!) The hardest thing about it, truly, was getting over my fear of using filo pastry. It really isn’t that difficult. Some of the ultra-thin sheets did rip, but they were still usable. It worked out fine.

I didn’t want to use sugar. (It’s weird, but sugar makes Bob’s knees hurt.) I searched and found a recipe on honey.com that uses only honey, so I decided to give it a try

Although Baklava is not hard to make, it does take some time. The Honey Syrup needs to cool down before using. I made it the day before and left the cinnamon stick and whole cloves in it until I was ready to use it yesterday. I think I will always make it ahead of time because that Honey Syrup was so remarkably infused with the flavors of cinnamon and cloves! I might make just the Honey Syrup sometime to use in tea!

I also made the clarified butter the day before. It did solidify a bit overnight. I just heated it up a bit in the microwave so it would be easier to brush on the filo.

You also need to allow time for the filo pastry to defrost. It is sold frozen; you’ll find it near the frozen pie crusts. The directions on my package said to defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

So when I started yesterday, my filo was defrosted and I already had the Honey Syrup and clarified butter ready to go. It still took me almost an hour and a half to put it together and get it in the oven. It takes an hour and 5 minutes to bake, and then it’s supposed to cool before eating. So allow yourself plenty of time to make Baklava. Once you try it, though, you’ll realize it is definitely time well spent!

Baklava

(Adapted from a recipe on honey.com)

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(print the recipe)

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Makes 24 – 30, depending on how you cut them

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3 cups finely ground walnuts (360 grams)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1½ cups clarified butter, divided (made from 1 pound butter; instructions follow)

½ cup honey

1 package (16 oz) filo pastry sheets

Honey Syrup (recipe follows)

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finely chopped walnuts (I used a food processor)


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1. Preheat the oven to 325˚.

2. Combine walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium bowl. Stir well until the spices seem evenly distributed.

3. Set aside ½ cup of the clarified butter and stir the honey into the remaining 1 cup of clarified butter. (You can microwave it for a few seconds to make it easier to blend well.)

4. Brush the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with some of the clarified butter.

5. Open the filo pastry. Cover it with waxed paper and a damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out. Every time you take out a sheet, cover it up again.

6. Place a piece of filo in the pan, and brush it with the clarified butter. Repeat with 9 more sheets, brushing each one with more butter, for a total of 10 sheets.

7. Spread 1/3 cup of the walnut mixture over the filo. Place a sheet of filo over the walnuts and brush it with the honey/clarified butter mixture. Add a second sheet of filo and brush it with the honey/butter mixture.

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8. Repeat Step #7, adding 1/3 cup of walnuts and two sheets of filo, each brushed with the honey/butter mixture until you have used all of the nuts.

9. Top with 10 or 12 more filo sheets, brushing each one with clarified butter. (I ran out of butter, so I just microwaved a couple of tablespoons of butter to finish up.)

10. With a sharp knife, cut the baklava lengthwise into fourths, being careful to cut all the way through.

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11. Cut diagonally across the first cuts to make diamond shapes.

12. Bake at 325˚ for 45 minutes.

13. Reduce heat to 275˚ and bake for another 20 minutes.

14. Remove from the oven and immediately spoon the cool Honey Syrup over the Baklava.

15. Cool completely on a rack before serving.

I have not tried this, but the recipe says leftover baklava can be wrapped well for the freezer (wrapped in aluminum foil, perhaps) and frozen. When ready to eat, place the unwrapped pieces on a baking sheet in a 325˚ for about 12 minutes, or until heated. Allow to cool before eating.

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Clarified Butter

Cut 1 pound butter into small pieces and melt in a small saucepan over low heat. Do not stir! When it’s all melted, carefully skim off the foam on the top. Carefully pour the clear butter into a bowl or measuring cup, leaving the solids on the bottom in the pan. (I ended up pouring the last bit through cheesecloth in a strainer to get every last bit!)

clarified butter with foam partially removed

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Honey Syrup

(I bought fresh cinnamon sticks. They were very fragrant. It was time to throw out the old ones I had that had no smell.)

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1 cup honey

¾ cup water

½ teaspoon grated lemon peel

3 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick, 3 inches long

1½ teaspoons lemon juice


Combine everything in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Remove the cloves and cinnamon before using.

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60 Comments leave one →
  1. January 31, 2011 6:45 am

    I love Baklava but have never thought of making them at home before. Thanks for the recipe… I will definitely make this :)

  2. January 31, 2011 6:49 am

    Still can’t get over how good these were…

  3. January 31, 2011 8:23 am

    Great testimony! They turned out beautifully – wouldn’t be able to eat just one.

  4. January 31, 2011 9:41 am

    Love it.. Will def try it soon !!

  5. January 31, 2011 9:50 am

    I tried to make baklava a few years back. It was a disaster. My recipe called for rose water? I had problems finding it and when I did it was expensive and I used it only for the baklava. I like your recipe much better. I will have to try.

  6. Carrie permalink
    January 31, 2011 9:50 am

    are they shippable??

  7. January 31, 2011 11:12 am

    Way to go Kath! It looks amazing!! I have never made it before either but you make me want to try!!

  8. January 31, 2011 11:25 am

    They look perfect!

  9. January 31, 2011 11:43 am

    Incredible job on these. The honey syrup instead of sugar is a neat touch. :)

  10. January 31, 2011 11:47 am

    Oops, I just drooled on my keyboard. Those look incredibly delicious and beautiful. Congratulations!

  11. January 31, 2011 12:33 pm

    This baklava looks outstanding, like the kind you get in a Greek Restaurant. The honey syrup sounds so good, too. Excellent Job! Now, can you send some to me now?

  12. January 31, 2011 2:02 pm

    Your baklava looks fantastic…my mom is the baklava master I am still in training….wonderful dessert:)

  13. January 31, 2011 2:08 pm

    You did a commendable job! It looks like a lot of work but I will try these when my father-in-law visits. We once celebrated his birthday with baklava, not birthday cake!

  14. January 31, 2011 2:13 pm

    Excited to find this post, I have lots of extra fillo dough from a recipe this weekend:) It definitely looks time consuming, but sooooo worth it!!
    Take care,
    Terra

  15. jean bosch permalink
    January 31, 2011 2:37 pm

    Kath, we said good bye so quickly (don’t miss that ferry!!!) I didn’t get to say again that the baklava was fantastic and thanks so much for bringing it to dinner. I hope you enjoyed making it. I sure enjoyed eating it.

    • February 2, 2011 11:22 am

      Thank you, Jean, for the great dinner and for sending us home with some of your delicious chicken! I made a quick curry with it last night. Deelish!

  16. jean bosch permalink
    January 31, 2011 2:43 pm

    Hey Kath, do you think that honey syrup would keep well, maybe use as a gift at holiday time?

    • February 2, 2011 11:24 am

      That is a really good question, Jean. I would think that it would keep well, but I’m not really sure. It’s definitely worth a try.

  17. January 31, 2011 3:43 pm

    Beautiful!!! I adore baklava..and it’s been way too long since I’ve made (or tasted) any!!

  18. January 31, 2011 4:55 pm

    Homemade baklava is SUCH an impressive dessert. Good job with these!

  19. January 31, 2011 9:47 pm

    I love baklava and your ones look so good.

  20. February 1, 2011 3:15 am

    This is SERIOUS temptation. Bravo! If I made these, my husband would marry me all over again.

  21. February 1, 2011 8:10 am

    MMMMMMMMM! I love Baklava! Perfect, sticky little bites of heaven!

  22. February 1, 2011 8:50 am

    Awesome! Congrats! Getting over fears in the kitchen is one of the BEST feelings in the world, no!?!??! The baklava looks amazing!

    • February 2, 2011 11:26 am

      So true, Tiffany! Getting out of your comfort zone in the kitchen and having it turn out well gives a great feeling of accomplishment!

  23. Dianka82 permalink
    February 1, 2011 8:52 am

    I’m literally drooling over computer! These look incredibly yummy and authentic – better than my great-aunt’s, and she’s actually a Greek, born there, raised there and nurtured by Greek cuisine… Yum, Yum, Yum!

    • February 2, 2011 11:27 am

      Thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate knowing that it looks authentic! :)

  24. February 1, 2011 12:24 pm

    I made baklava for the first time with my cousin. I was surprised at how easy it really was! That Phyllo is pretty intimidating in my opinion. It’s so good and so sweet that even I cannot overdo it for fear of sugar overload! Your photographs are beautiful by the way!

  25. February 1, 2011 1:16 pm

    I love baklava too but have never made it at home. I am sure it is well worth the effort as yours looks incredible!

  26. February 1, 2011 5:23 pm

    I had never tried that…looks good! Thanks for the add on FoodBuzz! It’s neat to meet other bloggers!

  27. February 1, 2011 5:40 pm

    Mmm. Ive seen a few baklava recipes popping up lately. Ive only had it a few times but it is an amazing dish! Yours looks beautiful!!

  28. February 1, 2011 6:59 pm

    This looks awesome!

  29. February 1, 2011 10:15 pm

    This looks just heavenly. I tried some amazing baklava when I visited Jordan and Egypt last year, and this is one of the first recipes that looks and sounds just as good as what I sampled! Thank you for sharing with me, my sweet friend. I hope you are staying safe and warm. It is even too cold in my part of the country…and I’m in Austin!

    • February 2, 2011 11:29 am

      Thank you, Monet! I like knowing that it looks like the baklava you had in Jordan and Egypt! We’re fortunate here in Seattle – it’s sunny and 42 degrees!

  30. February 2, 2011 5:42 am

    Hi Kath! Your baklava looks amazing! I’ve been craving this for a while. Happy to see such an easy recipe!

    • February 2, 2011 11:30 am

      It actually is very easy, Patti. It just takes a bit of time.

  31. February 2, 2011 9:24 am

    beautiful looks delicious our favourite

  32. February 2, 2011 12:45 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! I love homemade baklava, but am a bit too lazy to make it regularly. Yours looks great and well worth the effort.

  33. February 2, 2011 3:12 pm

    This looks incredible – I love syrupy desserts. I’ve enjoyed but never made these myself, maybe it’s about time I changed that! Thanks for sharing, beautiful photos. :)

  34. February 2, 2011 4:34 pm

    Very cool! It would never occur to me to make my own baklava. glad to hear it’s not that hard to make.

  35. February 2, 2011 9:57 pm

    It’s always a good time for baklava and I really never tried to make it myself because I have to learn how to use filo pastry. I promise I will soon :)

  36. February 3, 2011 11:53 am

    Kath,
    Pls. stop by my blog to pick up an award that I have for you:)

  37. February 4, 2011 1:05 pm

    I love baklava. i wish I wasn’t so chicken to actually make it. Yours looks great.

  38. gingerbreadbagels permalink
    February 5, 2011 8:43 am

    Your baklava looks soooo good. I absolutely love it but have never made it myself. I’m definitely going to try making it! :) Thank you for the recipe and instructions.

  39. February 5, 2011 2:24 pm

    your baklava looks delicious! I lived in an area that had a wonderful Greek festival every year and the first time I had baklava I thought I had died and gone to heaven.. yours looks every bit as good as I had at the festival!
    Cheers
    Dennis

  40. February 7, 2011 5:43 pm

    Baklava is one of my favorite sweets. Persians don’t use honey but a rosewater syrup. Yummmm…. wish I had some now!

  41. February 8, 2011 6:55 am

    Lovely, I will be trying this soon.. yummy!!!

  42. February 8, 2011 11:31 am

    i could eat baklava every day, every hour, every minute of my life !! i’m crazy about baklava

  43. February 9, 2011 6:28 pm

    Whenever I’m asked what my favorite food is, I can answer without hesitation. It’s baklava. I love it so much, but I’ve never made it. Thanks so much for this recipe. Yum!

  44. February 12, 2011 8:36 pm

    Nice photos and looks so yum!

  45. February 13, 2011 8:40 am

    Great post (with useful insights) and gorgeous pictures!

  46. February 15, 2011 2:27 pm

    I was hoping you would say this was the best you’ve ever had! I’ve been looking for a good recipe to try and now I can stop my search :) Consider this saved! Yum!

  47. February 15, 2011 7:46 pm

    That looks like perfect baklava and I’m sure it was delicious!

  48. February 17, 2011 1:17 am

    Wow, now I have to make it .. your Baklava looks amazing :X

  49. January 1, 2012 7:09 am

    This recipe looks so AUSOME I can’t wait to try it out!!!!

  50. December 12, 2013 8:10 am

    Baklava is originally Turkish, but very happy to see that it is global now and everyone loves the great taste ….BAKLAVA !!!!

    • December 12, 2013 8:37 am

      I didn’t know that Baklava is originally Turkish. Thanks for your comment, Su!

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