Baklava is an delicate, exotic and flavorful treat. It seems like it would take hours of slaving in the kitchen to make. But baklava is easy to make! Keep reading to see how you can make my family recipe as a sweet, unique Valentine treat this year! Be sure to also check out the other wonderful ladies that have collaborated to share other fun Valentine desserts!
What is Baklava?
Baklava is an exotic and flavorful dessert originating in Greece and the Middle East. Light pastry called phyllo dough, nuts, cardamom spice, butter and honey or sugar are the typical ingredients in Baklava. There are many versions of this classic treat. My family’s recipe is a Middle Eastern version. Our family eliminated the rose water and pistachios found in Greek style Baklava. My family’s recipe features walnuts instead. I love to share this treat during the Christmas season but think its just as fun on Valentines Day!
- Phyllo dough
- granulated sugar
- ground cardamom
- lemon juice
This recipe is a simplified version. It is easy to make and takes few ingredients.
Prepare The Walnut Stuffing
Finely chop 1 pound of walunts in a food processor. The nuts should almost stick together when pinched between fingers. Next add in a cup of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of cardamom. Set aside.
Prepare Phyllo Dough
Unroll one phyllo dough roll. Place a 9×13″ glass baking dish on top of the dough. Gently mark the length of the pan with and knife in the dough and trim the excess. Most packages of dough contain 2 rolls of phyllo, this recipe uses one roll of dough.
Begin Layering The Baklava
Melt 2 sticks of butter in microwave safe bowl. Coat the bottom and sides of the baking dish with an ample amount of butter. Layer about 5 sheets of phyllo into the buttered dish. Gently coat dough with butter spreading lightly with a pastry brush or back end of a spoon. Add another 5 layers or so of dough. Now it is time to add the nut mixture. Spread the nut mixture evenly and gently pat down. Add the next 5 or so layers of dough. Again butter the dough. Add the remaining dough and do not butter yet.
Cutting the Baklava
Traditional baklava is usually cut into diamond or triangle shapes. Although these shapes are pretty, they produce a lot of waste. Our family recipe calls for the baklava to be cut into even squares. Cutting the baklava is the trickiest part of the process. It becomes easy with practice. Use a small serrated knife. While cutting the dough gently hold each side of the pastry with fingers. Make even cuts in both directions creating even squares about an inch and a half in size. Pour the remaining butter on freshly cut baklava. Be sure to coat all the dough and allow the butter to drip down the sides of the baking dish.
Baking and Glazing
Bake the baklava for 35-45 min at 350. Each oven varies, remove from heat when light golden brown. Right before baking is complete melt sugar and water with lemon in a microwave save bowl. The liquid should be clear. Remove the baklava from heat and pour melted sugar mixture on hot baklava. It will bubble and cook the sugar creating a candy coating. Allow the pastry to completely cool before removing from the pan. This could take several hours. Do not try to speed up cooling by placing in the fridge, this will cause the sugar to turn white.
Although baklava is a delicate flavorful treat, it really is simple to make! I hope you enjoy sharing this recipe with your loved ones this Valentines Day!
Check Out These Other Valentine Desserts!
- 1 package phyllo dough
- 1 pound walnuts
- 1 and 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cardamom
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 325
- unroll phyllo dough, place 9x13" glass baking dish on dough and use a serrated knife to trim dough to size of dish
- Divide layers of dough into two piles
- Using a food processor finely chop walnuts till they begin to stick together when pinched between fingers
- Add 1/2 c. sugar and 2 tsp of cardamom to walnuts. Mix and set aside
- Melt the 2 sticks of butter in a microwave safe bowl coat baking dish bottom and sides with generous amount of melted butter
- Place half of the first pile of phyllo dough sheets in the buttered dish (about 5 sheets) spread with melted butter using a spoon or pastry brush
- Add second half of the first pile of sheets on top- leave dry no butter
- Evenly spread and tamp down the ground walnut mixture
- Using the second half to the phyllo dough place about 5 sheets on top of the walnut mixture and butter as before
- Place the remaining dough on top and leave without butter
- Using a serrated knife cut the dough into even squares. (gently hold down dough with fingers on either side of the knife to hold sheets in place)
- Using a spoon drizzle remaining butter over the top and down sides of the baklava be sure to coat evenly
- Bake for 35-45 min or until light golden color
- During the last 15 min or so of baking combine 1 cup sugar with a tsp of lemon juice and coat sugar with water until just submerged (about 1/4 c or less, the goal is to just wet the sugar to melt it) Sugar should be clear when sufficiently melted
- Pour melted sugar on hot baklava when it is done baking. It will bubble and continue to cook on the stovetop as it creates a candy coating on the pastry.
- Allow to cool completely before serving or removing from baking dish. This could take several hours.
Be sure to check out my other holiday ideas HERE!