Traditional Greek baklava contains layers of crispy phyllo dough, crunchy chopped walnuts and is topped with an irresistible honey syrup! Bake this up for your next get-together!
Baklava is one of those once-a-year desserts that I enjoy at our city’s annual Greek festival. I was very intimidated by the thought of baking some myself since it looked complicated (and sticky).
One day at work, my old boss brought in some homemade baklava to share with the team. I asked her how difficult it was to make, and she said that it wasn’t hard at all, and she’s not even a baker. She mentioned that it was just layers of phyllo dough with some nuts tossed in. Then you doused the entire thing in a honey syrup.
OK, that didn’t sound too hard. But where to find a recipe? While I did ask my former boss for her family recipe (she happens to be Greek), the request slipped her mind and she never brought it in for me. I then decided to turn to an online friend and Greek blogger, Elly Says Opa.
My old boss and Elly were both right – this wasn’t hard to create at all. It just requires some time and patience, as each layer phyllo dough has to be thoroughly brushed with melted butter before layering on the next. This recipe makes about 24 triangles of baklava so it’s plenty to share.
From a baker who doesn’t typically eat nuts, this is one fantastic recipe that I know I’ll be making again. I actually tolerated (and maybe even enjoyed) the nuts in this!
- 1 pound walnuts
- 1 and 1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 1 16 ounce package phyllo dough, thawed
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cinnamon stick optional
- strip of lemon or orange peel or a couple tsp. fresh lemon juice
- In a 300 degree F oven or in a dry nonstick skillet, toast the walnuts until fragrant. Toss them into a food processor with the cinnamon and cloves and pulse until fine but not powdery. Set aside.
- Turn the oven up to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a standard 9"x13" pan.
- Take 1 piece of phyllo and place it on the bottom of your prepared pan. Using a pastry brush, brush a layer of melted butter on top. Repeat with 5-7 more layers of phyllo.
- Add 1/2 of the walnut mixture on top and then add another 5 layers of phyllo.
- Add the remaining half of the walnut mixture and the remaining phyllo (my package only had about 15 sheets of phyllo dough, so feel free to add more layers if your package contains more).
- Don't forget to brush a layer of melted butter on the very top layer of dough.
- Cut the baklava into squares and then cut each square in half into triangles. You should have about 24 total triangles.
- Bake in your preheated oven for about 50 minutes or until golden. Turn the oven off and remove the pan and allow to cool.
- While the baklava is cooling, make the syrup. Combine the water, sugar, honey, cinnamon, and citrus peel (if using) and allow it to simmer for 10-15 minutes. It should thicken slightly.
- Pour the hot syrup over the cooled baklava. Allow the baklava to sit for several hours to soak in (or overnight for best results).