I want to thank all of you who participated in my Good Earth giveaway! And the winner is…
Coco of Balance, Joy and Delicias! Coco, please email me your address so I can have your prize pack sent out.
Now onto the baklava! The secret to a great baklava is the syrup, which serves two purposes: it makes the baklava sweet (the sweetness of the dish comes entirely from the syrup since there’s no sugar between the layers) and it moistens the baklava. Too much syrup and the baklava is soggy, too little and it’s dry. This might not sound like a big deal, but the texture of the baklava can make or break it. I like my baklava to have just enough syrup so that it’s moist and syrupy at the bottom but crisp on top. This recipe has the perfect syrup-to-baklava ratio to achieve this.
In addition to the syrup, the only other tricky part about baklava is handling the phyllo dough because it’s so thin and delicate. Here are a few tips for working with phyllo:
- If you’re using frozen dough, let it thaw in the fridge overnight to ensure that it thaws at a more even rate. If you let it thaw at room temperature in warm or humid weather, I’ve noticed that the dough has a tendency to stick together.
- When you’re working with phyllo, make sure it doesn’t dry out. I like to put the dough on a cutting board and cover it loosely with plastic wrap, then lightly drape a damp towel on top of the plastic wrap. (The plastic keeps the air off it and the damp towel keeps it slightly chilled; don’t put the damp towel directly on the dough because it can make the dough gummy and cause it to stick together.) Work quickly but there’s no need to rush, since the dough will be pretty well protected if you set it up like this; it should only take about 10 to 15 minutes to layer the entire baklava.
- Don’t overdo it with the butter. Phyllo only needs a light brushing of butter to crisp up nicely.
I made this baklava for my dad’s birthday since it’s one of his favorites. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect since Greece is this month’s Regional Recipes theme. (Don’t you just love it when things line up like this? ;) ) I’m sending this recipe to Joanne of Eats Well With Others for this month’s round-up.
(Yield: 9 by 13-inch dish of baklava)
1 (16 oz) package phyllo dough
1 lb chopped nuts (I like to use walnuts or pistachios)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c (2 sticks) butter, melted (plus a little more butter to grease the pan)
1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 c honey
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB rose water
9 by 13-inch baking dish
Make the syrup first, as it should have time to cool before being poured on the hot baklava so it can be absorbed. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, cook the sugar and 1 1/2 c water until it boils, then turn it down to a simmer, add the honey, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and stir in the lemon juice and rose water; set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350F; grease the bottom and sides of the baking dish with butter. In a bowl, combine the chopped nuts and cinnamon. Unroll the phyllo and cut it in half down the center. Place the phyllo on a cutting board, cover it loosely with plastic wrap, and lightly drape a damp towel on top of the plastic wrap.
Place 2 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the pan (they will overlap), then lightly brush butter on them with a pastry brush. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle on 3 TB of the nut/cinnamon mixture, then top with 2 more sheets of dough. Brush more butter on the dough, then sprinkle the nut mixture on top and continue this way. Leave about 8 sheets for the top layer.
Use a sharp knife to cut the baklava into any decorative pattern you like (make sure you cut all the way down to the bottom). Bake for 45 minutes, until the baklava is golden and crisp.
Once you take the baklava out of the oven, immediately pour the syrup on top (be very careful; the syrup will bubble up). Cool completely before serving. I have successfully made this up to a week in advance (I stored covered it at room temperature), and I actually think it tastes better the longer it sits (as it sits it takes on a denser, gooier quality).
Congrats to the winner!
I love baklava. It’s one of those desserts on my list to make. Yours sounds and looks wonderful. I especially like the idea of making it ahead of time and it getting yummier and gooeier (sp?)
Happy 4th, Faith!
Congrats to the winner.
Your baklava does look perfect. Thanks for showing your brand of rose water. My Middle Eastern market must have about 8 different brands and I never know which one to pick.
Congrats to Coco!!
Faith u sure have a delicous recipe for Bakalava here!!!
Sure is delicious!!!
I had some fantastic baklava at a restaurant a few weeks ago and have been seriously craving it ever since. I so meant to make it for Regional Recipes, but my fate did not align quite so well as yours did.
I’m bookmarking it though! Looks fantastic. Your dad must have been quite pleased!
I like your baklava … always liked phyllo pastries :)
Veronica M. says
Baklava isn’t my thing but yours looks really good, especially with that nice crisp crust on top!
Congrats to the winner! The baklava looks absolutely amazing. I am hopelessly addicted to the stuff. I definitely need to learn how to make my own.
[email protected] says
oh baklava is one of those amazing foods. can be dessert, breakfast, power bar-but always delicious!
Baklava is my ultimate weakness. Sometimes I think I eat them a bit too much. One moment of indulgence = months in the gym!
Congratulations to the winner!That sounds and looks really scrumptious.. :)
Congrats to the winner! And this baklava looks so irresistible!
baklava is a dessert that i must order when i see it on a menu, and there are two reasons for that. first, it’s delicious. secondly, i’m too lazy to make it for myself. :)
Your baklava looks absolutely delicious and your comments were very correct.
Nicole, RD says
Congrats to the winner – I’m jealous :)
Baklava! I have to make this! I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with the stuff…it’s all I ate while in Greece :)
Blond Duck says
That’s so crazy! I just had baklava the other day!
Lovely baklava. My wife would absolutely love this.
Oh Faith, you made baklava? It sure look so yummie…perfectly made. Love the pictures as well :-)
By the way, congratulations to the winner.
Double yum on this recipe AND the delectable photos! And congrats to the lucky winner!
Congrats to the winner!
That baklava looks delicious! I love that treat.
The best dessert! Ur baklava is mouthwatering!
Barbara Bakes says
We only get baklava at the Greek Festival every year, but it never looks as fabulous as yours!
I love baklava and yet have not made it at home! Looks amazing! I already bookmarked it! :)
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
That looks absolutely perfect Faith! I must admit I am probably guilty of overdoing the butter (on everything really :P). But not yours, look at all of those gorgeous puffy layers!
The last time I had this dessert it was a really terrible imitation…I was so disappointed. They used honey that consisted more of sugar than the real mccoy.
I love that you used two types of nuts in your recipe.
If the baklava you made is as good as it looks…you’ve got a winning combination ;o)
Flavourful wishes, Claudia
Congratulations to your winner! The baklava looks so good! I don’t think I’ve ever tried it before but I’m pretty sure I will now!
Your baklava looks perfect! And positively delicious! Thanks for all the helpful tips!
Baklava is delicious but one of those things where even if I managed to make it myself without screwing it up, I’d regret making it, especially after eating the whole thing in one sitting. ;) So I’ll just admire this from a distance. Looks wonderful. :)
I know this is delicious. You make it seem possible for me to make it. I have to get some phylo dough. I think, this would be fun to achieve. I love your recipes.
Congratulations to the winner! Baklava looks fab1
Heavenly Housewife says
Baklava is one of my all time favourite treats. I love it with some mint tea, its just the perfect ending to a yummy meal.
I haven’t had baklava in ages! I had no idea it was so much easier to make than I expected.
The great thing about it is that I only need a tiny piece to satisfy my sweet tooth because it is SO sweet!
Great recipe Faith. I hope you have a fantastic Sunday.
Bkalava looks really yummy.I love them but afraid of calorie i take it in moderation which really hard one. Congrats to your lucky winner.
Congratulations to your lucky winner and thanks to you for this lovely recipe. In the past mine has always been to sweet. It’s nice to have another recipe to try. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary
Nutmeg Nanny says
Congratulations to the winner! Now onto this baklava…delicious! The Greek festival just ended and I may or may not have consumed a few pieces ;)
Your baklava looks absolutely perfect! You are right about the balance of syrup to baklava – makes it or breaks it. Happy Birthday to your dad!
I love baklava with a capital L! Yours looks amazing. I have never tried to make it myself. Thanks for the great recipe so I can:)
AUGH! I am never gonna win one of these things!
Uh, I love baklava, pity i missed this competition! Congratulations to the winner!