Baklava is a sweet dessert made of layers of flaky phyllo pastry filled with crushed nuts and sweetened with honey syrup.
When making this baklava recipe, it helps to think of the ingredients list in three different components:
- Phyllo pastry- find frozen phyllo dough in the freezer section next to things like pie crust.
- Nut mixture- pistachios, walnuts, hazelnut, sugar, ground cinnamon, pinch of ground cloves. You can change the nut mixture according to what you have. For example, you can use just walnuts or pistachios, but be sure to have enough of whichever nut you use. And if you’re not a fan of cinnamon, you can omit that.
- Honey syrup- water, sugar, honey, and lemon juice. To infuse the syrup with more flavor, I add two more completely optional items, orange extract and whole cloves.
How to Make Baklava: Step-by-Step
My guide for how to make baklava
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Make the Honey SyrupPlace the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat stove-top, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Add the honey, orange extract, and whole cloves (cloves are optional here); stir to mix. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove syrup from heat. Add lemon juice. Remove the whole cloves and let the syrup cool completely (it will thicken a little bit).
- Make the Nut MixtureIn the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, add the pistachios, walnut, and hazelnuts. Pulse a few times to chop. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add sugar, cinnamon, and ground cloves. Mix well to combine.
- Prepare the Phyllo PastryCarefully unroll the thawed phyllo pastry and place the sheets in between two clean kitchen towels. This will help keep the phyllo from breaking while you work.
- Assemble the First Few Layers of BaklavaPrepare a 9”x 13”x 2” baking pan. Brush the interior of the baking pan with some of the melted butter.
To assemble the baklava, take one sheet of phyllo and place it in the pan (for this size pan, I typically fold my phyllo sheet in half, and it fits perfectly. You can also do a bit of trimming using a pair of kitchen shears). Brush the top of the phyllo sheet with the melted butter.
Repeat this process a few more times until you have used up about ⅓ of the phyllo pastry, each layer being brushed with the melted butter.
- Distribute some of the Nut Mixture
- Now, distribute about ½ of the nut mixture evenly over the top layer of phyllo.Continue Assembling the BaklavaContinue assembling the baklava, one sheet of phyllo pastry at a time using another ⅓ of the phyllo. Again, brush each layer with a bit of the melted butter.
- Distribute the remaining ½ of the nut mixture evenly over the top layer of phyllo.
- Finish the remaining ⅓ of the phyllo pastry following the same process, laying one folded sheet at a time and brushing each layer with melted butter.
- Brush the very top sheet of phyllo with butter.
11. Cut the Baklava into PiecesUsing a good sharp knife, cut the pastry into diamond shaped pieces (anywhere from 24 to 36 pieces) about ½-inch deep. (See the video to see exactly how I cut baklava)