What comes to mind when you hear “baklava”?
Greek festivals, sweet pastry, honey and nuts? This Mediterranean confection has been enjoyed for centuries. Tomorrow, November 17., we celebrate National Baklava Day.
Baklava is the perfect make-ahead dessert because it is even better the next day! Our baklava recipe combines layers of honey-soaked crisp phyllo pastry and a cinnamon-scented nut mixture with pistachios, walnuts and hazelnut. It is all you want in a dessert.
Baklava and Nut Filling:
- 170g shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 170g walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 170g hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- Large pinch of ground cloves
- 454g rolled filo pastry (unfrozen)
- 220g of unsalted butter (melted)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 cup honey
- 1 tbsp orange extract (optional)
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 lemon (juice)
- 30 min
- 40 min
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Make the Honey Syrup:
2. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat the stove top, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.
3. Add the honey, orange extract if using, and whole cloves; stir to mix. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for about 25 minutes.
4. Remove syrup from heat and let cool down to lukewarm.
5. Add lemon juice.
6. Remove the whole cloves.
Make the Nut Mixture:
7. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, add the pistachios, walnut and hazelnuts. Pulse a few times to chop.
8. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves. Mix well to combine.
Prepare the Filo Pastry:
9. Unroll the unfrozen filo pastry and place the sheets in between two clean kitchen towels. This will help keep the filo from breaking while you work.
Assemble the Baklava:
10. Prepare our non stick baking tray. Brush the interior of the baking pan with some of the melted butter.
11. To assemble the baklava, take one sheet of filo pastry and place it in the pan. You can also do a bit of trimming using a pair of kitchen shears.
12. Brush the top of the filo pastry sheet with the melted butter.
13. Repeat this process a few more times until you have used up about ⅓ of the filo pastry, each layer being brushed with the melted butter.
14. Now, distribute about ½ of the nut mixture evenly over the top layer of filo pastry.
15. Continue assembling the baklava, one sheet of filo pastry at a time using another ⅓ of the filo pastry. Again, brush each layer with a bit of melted butter.
16. Distribute the remaining ½ of the nut mixture evenly over the top layer of filo pastry.
17. Finish the remaining ⅓ of the filo 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 filo pastry with butter.
Cut the Baklava Pastry Into Pieces:
18. Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry into 24 diamond-shaped pieces (you can get up to 36 smaller pieces).
19. Place the baking dish on the middle rack of your heated oven. Bake anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes or until the top of the baklava turns golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. (IMPORTANT…Because ovens vary, be sure to check your baklava halfway through baking).
Pour Syrup Over Hot Baklava:
20. As soon as you remove the baklava from the oven, pour the cooled syrup all over the hot baklava.
21. Allow the baklava to sit for a few hours before serving or for at least 1 hour. Cut through the earlier marked pieces. Serve with a garnish of chopped pistachios, if you like.
To save time, while the syrup is simmering begin to assemble the baklava.
Defrost the baklava pastry package in the fridge overnight (review package instructions). Take it out of the fridge 1 hour before you start.