Baklava, is made with filo pastry, honey syrup, and nuts is one of Greece’s most beloved desserts. It’s perfect for any time of day. With your καφε or frappe or freddo, or as your final sweet treat at the end of a meal.
I fell in love with Baklava when I was a child. I must have been 7 or 8, and I saw it as part of a ‘World Foods’ class. Intrigued, I tried a piece. It was love at first bite. I was no stranger to Greek food – see my up coming post on Dolmades in a couple of weeks – and have loved it ever since.
So how hard is it to make? That’s the question I’m always asked. My answer usually suprises them “not hard at all. But you must have patience.”
This throws people, because how can something be easy, yet need patience?
Well, in this blog post I’m going to walk you through making Baklava, so you’ll never have to wonder again. Oh, and you’ll be able to make it quickly and easily yourself!
So what do you need to make Baklava? The equipment is minimal, and the ingredients are simple to get. You’ll find most of them at the supermarket, wholefoods, or even on Amazon – we’ll put some links in to help.
What you do want to watch out for though is freshness. Fresh pastry – frozen is fine, but the older it is, the drier it will be. Dried out filo is a nightmare to use! You also want fresh nuts; the older they are, the oils become rancid and bitter. No amount of honey will disguise that!
Filo: Look for filo in your supermarket, usually in either the refrigerated or frozen sections. Either is fine – frozen will keep for longer – but make sure the use-by date is long. This indicates that the filo is fresher, and less likely to be a problem while you use it!
Honey: Without a doubt, raw honey is the best. This British honey, straight from the hive to jar, has to be some of the purest and most delicious honey ever bottled. If you’re looking for something a little bit special for you Baklava, then this is definitely it!
Nuts: While this recipe uses walnuts, you use almonds, pistachios, or any other nut if that’s what you have or prefer. If you like, you can even do a mix of crushed nuts. The only stipulation; freshness! Make sure they’re as fresh as possible, not the nuts from two Christmas’ ago.
Lemon juice: I love Quick Lemon Juice, when I can’t squeeze my own lemons, or I need a lot of juice. It’s a great product that’s squeezed and bottled quickly, and lasts a long time.
Sugar: I do a lot of cooking, and I use a lot of ingredients in bulk. Sugar is no exception to this. So my go-to is Tate & Lyle, it’s a reliable product, does the job, and what’s more, it’s sold in proper ‘bulk’ sizes!
Butter: Much like with filo, fresh is best. You’ll be able to buy this at any supermarket, grocery store, or convenience outlet. I prefer salted – gasp – but that’s me. Us unsalted if you prefer, or live on the wild side and go for that extra pinch.
Cinnamon: Ever popular in Greek cooking, cinnamon is something that should be in your pantry at all times. Whether as cinnamon sticks, or ground into powder, they should both be in your stores, as you’ll need them for a lot of Mediterranean cooking.
Baking tray: Unless you fancy scrubbing your pans and baking trays, then make sure they’re nonstick! Having said that, you also want quality heavy-duty trays, this MasterClass baking tray is ideal for this recipe and others!
Pastry brush: I’m a fan of old-school pastry brushes. They’re environmentally friendly, and can be recycled naturally when their lifetime is over. This Tala pastry brush is a perfect example of affordable quality, and natural and sustainable design.
Knife: You won’t need a massive knife for this, just a little paring knife. You’ll want to be able to carefully cut down through the layers of pastry, so 10cm is fine. If you don’t have a paring knife, I recommend this Wusthof paring knife as a great addition to your kitchen.
Mixing bowl: I prefer metal mixing bowls, it’s the chef in me coming out. I like them because they’re not temperature sensative, and you can’t break them. So these VonShef mixing bowls are great! However, as you can’t put them in a microwave, having a set of Pyrex glass bowls is also wise!
Saucepan: Having a good set of reliable pots and pans in a kitchen is a must. These Le Creuset saucepans will definitely never let you down! There’s a 3, 4, and 5-piece set, but we think the 3-piece is adequate for most kitchens.
Food processor: I cannot recommend this Ninja 1500w Food Processor enough. I’ve tried a lot of different processors; big names and smaller names alike. This is an absolute beast in the kitchen, and I love it! It’ll do everything you want and need it to!
Now you know what you need, let’s get onto the recipe itself, and make some baklava with filo, honey, and nuts. The concept is easy: layer of pastry, nuts, pastry, nuts, pastry and so on, then a final flourish of butter. Bake. Pour over honey syrup, allow to cool and soak up the syrup. Then, serve – and try not to eat all of it at once!
- 24 x 35 cm baking tray
- pastry brush
- Food processor
- microwaveable bowl
- medium saucepan
- 40 sheets filo pastry – about 1 box
- 285 gr salted butter melted and cooled
- 500 gr Walnuts
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 200 gr white sugar
- 200 ml water
- 180 gr honey
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 stick cinnamon
- Open the box and remove the filo. You'll need to cover the filo with a damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out – do not let it dry out, or it becomes difficult to work with.
- Place nuts and cinnamon in a food processor.
- Pulse until finely chopped – not walnut dust!
- LAYERING DIRECTIONS:
- Heat oven to 160C.
- Brush the tray with butter.
- Layer 8 sheets of filo in the tray, brushing in between each layer with butter. – Reserve 8 sheets for the top!
- Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the walnuts over the filo.
- Place another 4 sheets of filo on top – brushing butter on each sheet.
- Repeat steps 10 and 11 until finished with filo pastry and walnut mixture.
- Cover with the reserved 8 sheets, brushing butter between each layer.
- Coat the top layer with butter.
- Take a sharp knife, and carefully cut lengthways in 4 even lines. Then, cut diagonally to create diamonds.
- Bake for 45mins, rotate the tray for even colouring, and continue to back for another 25mins or until golden brown.
- At this point, make the infused syrup.
- In a medium sauce pan, heat all of the ingredients over medium heat until dissolved.
- Bring to a simmer, wait 5 mins, then lower heat for a further 5mins or until the syrup has thickened.
- Remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature.
- When cooked, immediately remove the Baklava from the oven, and place on a flat and level surface.
- While the filo is hot, pour the syrup over, and leave to sit for a minimum of 6-8hours. This allows for the syrup to be absorbed into the pastry – this takes time, so it’s best if left overnight.
- Before lifting a piece out, make sure the bottom layer is cut properly.
- Baklava will keep for at least 1 week.
And there you have it, Baklava demystified! You now know that Baklava is made from filo, honey, and nuts, and is absolutely delicious! If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a comment, follow LarderPantryandGarden on Instagram, Facebook, and of course, on YouTube too!
This post may contain affiliate links.