Baklava!

Baklava is kind of a big deal in my family. For as long as I can remember my Greek grandma has made baklava every year around Christmas time, and sometimes just randomly throughout the year. In case you are one of those unfortunate people who don’t know what baklava is, it’s a sweet Greek dessert made up of layers of phyllo dough, butter, walnuts, spices, and covered with a honey syrup.

My parents have been continuing the baklava making tradition every year at our house, and when they made a random batch this summer I documented the process.

Baklava fillo phylo dough

This recipe is for a 12″ x 16″ pan, but with a little bit of math skills it can be modified for a 13″ x 9″ pan.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages fillo dough
  • 4 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

Walnut & Spice Mixture:

  • 4 cups walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp┬ácinnamon
  • 1 and 1/8 tsp ground cloves

Honey Syrup

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon peel
  • 1 tsp orange peel
  • 1 cup honey

Baklava assembly:

Defrost the frozen fillo (phyllo) dough in the fridge. When you get ready to start assembling the baklava keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out.

Melt the 4.5 sticks of butter in a saucepan and then clarify it.
Baklava melting butterBaklava melted butter

Combine the ingredients for the walnut spice mixture in a food processor until it is very finely ground.

Baklava walnut spice mixture

Brush the melted butter on the bottom of the pan and then lay the first layer of fillo dough. Then layer seven more sheets of dough, brushing melted butter between each layer.
Baklava assembly

Sprinkle about 1 cup of walnut mixture on top of the eight layers of dough.
Baklava spreading walnut mixture

Layer eight more layers on top, always brushing butter between each layer.
Baklava sheets of phyllo fillo doughBaklava layer phyllo fillo dough

Continue this process until there are four sets of eight layers of dough (32 layers of fillo dough total), and there should be three layers of the walnut mixture between those sets.Baklava brush melted butter

Score the top eight layers with a knife. My parents use a ruler to measure out the rows before they cut so all the lines are straight and even.
Baklava scoring slicing

Baklava scored through top layers

Bake the pan in the oven at 325 degrees for 55 minutes.
Baklava lemon juice

Simmer all the syrup ingredients (except the honey) in a saucepan for 10-15 minutes, then add the cup of honey and let simmer for 10-15 more minutes.

Once the Baklava is out of the oven, let it cool for 15 to 20 minutes before pouring the syrup over the top. Then cut the pieces all the way through the layers.Baklava pour syrupBaklava finished ready to eat

Then eat a couple pieces of the baklava to make sure it’s delicious.

Check out some other great holiday treats over at Centsational Girl’s Cookie link party!

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