Traditional Baklava Recipe (Greek Walnut, Pistachio and Syrup cake)
Posted in ***Most liked recipes***, Baked, Comfort food, Desserts, Extra syrupy desserts, Heartwarming dishes, Intermediate, Mainland Greece, Our hand picked recipes, Pastry recipes, Traditional Greek Taverna Recipes Originally published on May 15, 2013 Last updated on February 10, 2017 By Eli K. Giannopoulos
Crispy, nutty and extra syrupy! Baklava is a delicious traditional Greek dessert made of layers of crispy golden brown phyllo, filled with chopped nuts and garnished with lemon scented syrup… Just heaven! This is a very easy to follow Baklava recipe for you to recreate this traditional sweet delight from scratch.
The traditional Greek Baklava (baclava) recipe has its roots in ancient Greece, where they made the ‘gastrin’, a sweet very similar to the current baklava. Baklava is an extra syrupy Greek dessert which falls under the category of ‘Siropiasta’. Syrupy Greek desserts (‘Siropiasta’) are very popular among Greek cuisine and with good reason! From extra syrupy cakes like portokalopita, karidopita or giaourtopita to traditional Greek pastry desserts, like kataifi or galaktoboureko and of course this famous traditional Greek baklava dessert. One thing all these Greek desserts have in common is of course the moist of scented syrup, which makes each one just irresistible!
Baklava recipe – All the secrets to make the perfect homemade Baklava the traditional Greek way!
After a lot of experimenting, we have distilled the essence of this delightful dish to a few easy to follow steps for you to make the very best, traditional baklava with little to no effort. This traditional baklava recipe can be summarised in three key stages: Preparing the nut-y filling, layering the filo sheets and preparing the scented syrup. For the filling of the baklava, my personal favourite is walnuts mixed with pistachios. In Central Greece baklava is made using only almonds, in Pelion with walnuts and northern Greece with pistachio. So feel free to experiment with whatever suits your taste.
Greek Baklava recipe – Layering the phyllo sheets
The key for the most flavourful Baklava is to use a good quality fresh butter to butter the phyllo sheets. The authentic Greek Baklava recipe calls for ‘galaktos’ butter made from a mix of sheep’s and goat’s milk, but if you can’t handle its very strong flavour, then you can substitute with good quality fresh butter from cow’s milk. When preparing phyllo based desserts, like this Baklava recipe, a little trick to make the phyllo crispier and flakier is to sprinkle the melted butter over the phyllo sheets, rather than brushing them. I always prefer to use fresh filo (phyllo) sheets as it saves time defrosting them, but if you choose to prepare this Baklava recipe with frozen phyllo, it is important to thaw it completely by putting it in the fridge from the previous day. Working with phyllo can be tricky as it’s brittle and can dry out very quickly, so once start preparing this Baklava recipe, make sure you have a cleared out working surface, large enough to spread the filo sheets and minimise the time that they are exposed to the dry air. (Check the handling tips before start preparing this Baklava recipe.)
Greek baklava recipe – Preparing the syrup
To achieve the perfect texture for the syrup of your Baklava, you should never blend or stir the syrup, while it is boiling, or else it will become lumpy. Just let the sugar dissolve in the hot water and boil for 2 minutes to make the syrup nice and thick. For the perfect Baklava: crispy phyllo and right syrup-ing go together! To accomplish this cut the Baklava in pieces before baking it and make sure the syrup is at room temperature and the baklava are hot. Always laddle really slowly the syrup over the hot Baklava, enabling each ladle to be absorbed, so that the syrup is absorbed evenly. Even though it will be really hard.. you should wait for the Baklava to cool down completely before serving.
So go ahead, give this super easy baklava recipe a try and let everyone think you are a master chef! Oh and you can always read this delicious recipe in Greek here Παραδοσιακός μπακλαβάς με καρύδια συνταγή.
For the baklava
- 25-30 sheets of phyllo dough
- 500g (17 oz.) walnuts, chopped (or a mix of walnuts, pistachios and almonds)
- 2 tsps cinnamon powder
- 2 tsps grounded clove
- 300g butter, melted (10 oz.)
- some whole cloves for garnish (optional)
For the syrup
- 600g sugar (20 oz.)
- 400g water (14 oz.)
- 80g glucose or honey (2.8 oz.)
- zest of 1 lemon or orange
- 1 cinnamon stick
- To prepare this baklava recipe, start by melting the butter in a saucepan over low heat, being careful not to burn it. Using a cooking brush butter the bottom and sides of a baking pan. (For this baklava recipe you will need a large baking pan approx. 40*30cm). Begin by layering the sheets of phyllo on the bottom of the baking dish to form the base of the baklava. Layer the sheets one at a time, making sure to sprinkle each one with melted butter. Use about 10-12 layers on the bottom side of the Baklava.
- In a large bowl, mix the chopped nuts, the cinnamon and grounded clove. Sprinkle the nut mixture over the phyllo base and continue forming the top of the baklava. Top the nuts with the rest phyllo sheets (10 of them), sprinkling each one with melted butter and brush the top of the baklava with enough butter. You could also try layering the Baklava, adding a couple of sheets in between layers of filling if you’d like your baklava with extra nuts!
- Place the baklava in the fridge for 15 minutes to make it easier to cut into pieces. Remove the baklava from the fridge and using a sharp knife cut the cut the pastry all the way down into pieces. If you fancy the taste of clove, place one whole clove berry into the middle of each baklava piece and sprinkle the top with some cold water.
- Place the baklava in preheated oven at 150C on the lower rack (both top and bottom heating elements on) and bake for about 1 1/2- 2 hours, until all the phyllo layers are crisp and golden.
- Prepare the syrup for the baklava. Into a small pot mix all the ingredients for the syrup and bring to the boil. Boil for about 2 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Take it off the heat and let it cool down. As soon as the baklava is ready, ladle slowly the cold syrup over the hot baklava, until it is fully absorbed.
- Let the baklava cool down completely and serve after the syrup has soaked throughput. Enjoy!