My baklava recipe is sinfully delicious and remarkably easy to make using a quick method that delivers the same results as the labored traditional versions. Flaky, buttery pastry layers are filled with a spicy-sweet walnut filling, baked to crisp perfection, and bathed in a honey-infused syrup. This Greek-inspired dessert is the definition of decadence!
If you have ever wondered how to make baklava, today is your lucky day! This baklava recipe is as easy to make as it is tasty. Few things compare to the flaky, crispy, buttery layers of a sticky sweet Greek baklava.
Enchanted by all those seductive layers, I thought for far too long that this was a difficult dessert to make. No way! This recipe requires only 15 minutes of prep time and a handful of simple ingredients. Learning how to make baklava has never been easier.
What is Baklava?
Baklava is made with thin sheets of pastry (filo or phyllo dough) that are basted in clarified butter (or ghee) and then layered with chopped nuts. A delicious syrup is then poured over the baked pastry to soak in before eating.
A painstaking procedure just got easier with this quick method.
No more brushing each sheet of filo with clarified butter. No, no my friends! I tried a new way that knocks the socks off the traditional way and saves you time with the same results!
Read on please and don’t forget to watch the video on how easy this is to make!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Phyllo Dough – Gives this treat its flaky, crispy texture. Find it in the freezer section of your supermarket, near the pie crusts. Once you get it home, store it in the fridge so it will be ready to work with. For authentic baklava, stick to phyllo dough rather than substituting it with puff pastry. You might end up with a tasty dessert, but it won’t be the same.
- Butter – Provides intense richness and a hint of salty sweetness. Butter or ghee are both great choices.
- Sugar – Provides a sweet base for the simple syrup and harmonizes the ingredients in the spicy nut filling.
- Honey – This gooey, earthy sweetener is a key ingredient in Greek baklava. Adding honey to the syrup makes the whole dessert richer and more densely delicious.
- Lemon Juice – Adds just the right pop of bright acidity to balance the sweetness of the syrup.
- Walnuts – Offset the sweet richness of the dessert with the earthy and slightly bitter flavor and crunchy texture of walnuts.
- Cinnamon – This warm, harmonizing spice enhances the natural sweetness of the walnuts.
- Clove – Add a sweet, wonderfully pungent, and slightly hot element to the nut filling.
HOW TO MAKE BAKLAVA
1. Prepare the Oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Use melted butter or ghee to grease the bottom of a 13×17” rimmed baking pan.
2. Make the Syrup. Over medium heat, add the sugar, water and lemon juice to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, gently stirring in the honey until it and the sugar have both dissolved. Remove from heat, set aside, and cool to room temp.
3. Make the Filling. Chop the walnuts into fine bits, then place them in a large bowl along with the sugar, cinnamon, and clove. Toss thoroughly.
4. Prepare to Assemble. Unroll all of the phyllo dough sheets, stack them and place the baking pan on top. Trim around the edges and discard any excess dough.
5. Build the Layers. Start by lining the bottom of the prepared baking dish with 25 phyllo sheets. On top of that, evenly spread the sugar, spice, and nut mixture all the way to the edges. Follow and top with the remaining 15 phyllo sheets.
6. Cut Into Squares. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut the baklava into squares. Gently hold down on the dough to keep it in place as you make 6 lengthwise and 8 crosswise cuts.
7. Soak With Butter. Evenly pour the melted butter over the pan of baklava. Tilt the pan as needed to make sure that all parts of the dessert get saturated with butter. See, no labor intensive buttering each filo dough sheet! This works!
8. Bake. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, rotating once halfway through.
9. Douse With Syrup. Remove the pan from the oven. Carefully pour the syrup evenly over the dessert. Be careful as this often times sputters a bit.
10. Cool Completely. Allow the baklava to cool for several hours to room temperature before serving. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
What is the Difference Between Greek Baklava and Turkish Baklava?
Greek baklava is a simple yet decadent combination of phyllo dough, sweet chopped nuts, melted butter, and a honey-rich syrup. The resulting delicacy is sweet, buttery, and flaky yet quite dense. It’s often cut into squares for serving.
Turkish baklava, on the other hand, is made with fewer nuts overall but almost always with pistachios. Additionally, the syrup in a Turkish baklava recipe contains no honey. Rather, the Turkish version of this dessert uses a thick syrup made from sugar, water, and some lemon juice. It is usually cut into diamond shapes and topped with crushed pistachios after getting soaked in the syrup.
Lebanese and Egyptian baklawa differ even more. Both combine orange blossom and/or rose water in the syrup. Now you know!
What if I Forgot to Cut Baklava Before Baking?
Sadly, with this quick method, if the phyllo is not cut then the butter or ghee has no way of saturating each piece prior to baking. I have not poured the melted butter over sheets of uncut filo, but it might absorb prior to baking. Simply be sure to cut it with care once it has finished baking. I recommend doing it carefully, before applying the syrup. That way the sweet goodness can make its way into all the layers.
How Do You Store Baklava So It Doesn’t Get Soggy?
Baklava will keep best when it is stored in an airtight container or lightly covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. It can be kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Room temperature is the best option if you are looking to maintain crispness. On the other hand, storing leftovers from this baklava recipe in the refrigerator will extend their shelf life by up to 2 weeks. However, the fridge will also render them a bit harder and chewier.
Easy Greek Baklava Recipe
- 13×17″ rimmed baking pan
- 2 lbs Phyllo dough 14×18" 20 sheet package, 40 sheets total
- 1 cup butter or ghee melted
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease bottom of a 13×17" rimmed baking pan with melted butter or ghee.
- Combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to simmer and stir through honey, making sure honey and sugar are dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Process walnuts in a food processor or chop fine with kitchen knife. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with sugar, cinnamon and clove until well mixed.
- Unroll and stack all of the phyllo dough sheets and place 13×17" baking pan on top. Carefully trim excess phyllo and discard.
- Lay 25 phyllo sheets in the bottom of prepared pan. Spread the nut and sugar mixture over the phyllo in an even layer, spreading to edges. Lay the other 15 phyllo sheets on top of the nuts.
- Carefully, with a sharp knife, cut the baklava into squares by making 6 cuts lengthwise and 8 cuts crosswise, gently holding down the phyllo sheets with your other hand as you carefully cut.
- Pour the melted butter or ghee over the baklava evenly, making sure all is saturated by tilting the pan. Let it rest to soak into the cuts and phyllo, about 5 minutes.
- Bake for about 50-55 minutes, rotating the baklava halfway through baking.
- Remove the pan from the oven and carefully pour the cooled syrup evenly all over the baklava. This should sputter slightly, be careful. Allow baklava to cool at room temperature for several hours before serving.
- Lightly cover baklava with plastic wrap in the pan or container, will keep in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.