Baking baklava has always intimidated me. All these years I thought it was very difficult to make the Mediterranean delicacy.
Putting aside my fears, I finally got around to making it. I watched a few videos on youtube to learn the techniques on how to handle the phyllo dough which is really the most essential aspect of baking baklava. It was pretty straight forward. I honestly didn’t find it difficult. Yes, slightly time consuming no doubt, but not something a mother of three can’t do 🙂 I enjoyed almost every step of it, except the shelling pistachios part. I would have totally used pre-shelled pistachios, but I had a huge package of shelled pistachios sitting around, so I decided to put it to use.
This dessert is not for the faint-hearted. Every layer of phyllo is brushed with melted better. A baklava’s success actually lies in butter, lots and lots of butter.
I used 3 cups of pistachios and a cup of almond, but you can use any combination, pecan, walnuts, etc. I suggest that you make the syrup before hand, so its completely on room temperature when you pour it all over the hot baklava.
One thing I’d like to point out before we get to the actual recipe: Try to keep steady hands when you are layering the phyllo dough to make sure they don’t tear. If they sorta tear, gently try to tuck that part in. Its not rocket science, I’m sure you will get the hang of it after layering and buttering a couple of them.
Just remember to keep it uncovered after baking for a couple of hours, before you decide to dig in.
This buttery, flaky, and extremely delicious baklava will become your favorite. And by making it over and over again you will surely master the skills. Drizzling with nutella takes it to another level. Yum!
For the syrup you will need:
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp orange blossom water
- 1 cinnamon stick
In a small pot mix all the ingredients and cook on the stove for 2 minutes on high, then lower the temperature for 15-20 mins until the mixture is slightly thicken. Remove from the heat and let it cool completely. Discard cinnamon stick.
For the baklava layers you will need:
- 1 lbs phyllo dough (contains about 20 sheets), thawed
- 3 cup pistachios (you can substitute mixture of walnuts, pecans or almonds)
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 cup of butter, melted
In a food processor combine nuts and chop them. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, and pulse it a couple of times. Set aside.
Unroll the phyllo dough and keep it covered with a damp cloth, so it doesn’t dry out as you work with it.
Butter 9×13 rectangular pan. Add six sheet of phyllo, making sure to butter every single one of them before putting the next one. Layer 1/3 of the nut mixture. Then, add 4 layers of phyllo dough on top, brush each one sheet in the pan before adding another. Buttering the layer is very important hence the emphasis. Spread another 1/3 of the nut mixture on top. Add 4 more layers of phyllo sheets, again butter each one of them. Spread the last layer of nuts. Finally, layer the last six sheets (don’t forget to brush with butter).
To summarize: Six sheets of phyllo + 1/3 layer of nut mixture + Four sheets of phyllo + 1/3 layer of nut mixture + Four sheets of phyllo + 1/3 layer of nut mixture + Six sheets of phyllo
Drizzle leftover butter on top and refrigerate for 20 mins so its easier to cut them into pieces before popping it in the oven.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 F.
Remove the pan from the fridge and using a sharp knife cut into square or diamond shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan.
Bake baklava for 35-40 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Remove baklava from the oven and immediately drizzle the syrup evenly on it.
Leave it uncovered for the first couple of hours, and if you want to cover later on, just wrap it loosely, since covering tightly can make it soggy.