Crispy, nutty and extra syrupy! Greek Baklava is a delicious traditional dessert made of layers of crispy golden brown phyllo, filled with chopped walnuts and garnished with honey syrup. Just heaven! This is a very easy classic Greek Baklava recipe for you to recreate this sweet delight from scratch.
Baklava Origin – Is Baklava Greek?
A lot of speculations abounds about the origin and history of Baklava. Greeks and Turks still argue over its origin and is claimed by both countries. A lot of historians believe that it has its roots in ancient Greece, where they made the ‘gastrin’. Gastrin was a dessert very similar to the current baklava.
What is Greek Baklava made of?
The classic Greek baklava recipe consists of three main ingredients; filo dough, walnuts and honey syrup. Baklava is an extra syrupy dessert which Greeks call ‘Siropiasta’. Syrupy desserts (‘Siropiasta’) are very popular among Greek cuisine and with good reason!
From extra syrupy cakes like portokalopita, karidopita or giaourtopita to Greek pastry desserts, like kataifi, saragli and galaktoboureko. One thing all these desserts have in common is of course the moist of scented syrup, which makes each one just irresistible!
What kind of nuts are in Baklava?
The nuts used mainly in the traditional Greek Baklava recipe are walnuts. The nuts used in the filling is the difference between the Turkish and Greek version, as the Turkish one uses pistachios. I must admit that 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.
What kind of butter to use?
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.
How to make the perfect homemade Greek Baklava?
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 authentic baklava with little to no effort. So, this Greek baklava recipe can be summarised in three key stages: Preparing the nut-y filling, layering the filo sheets and preparing the scented syrup.
Greek Baklava recipe – Layering the phyllo sheets
When preparing phyllo based desserts 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 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.
Tip: 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)
Greek Baklava recipe – Preparing the Honey Syrup
To achieve the perfect texture for the syrup, you should never blend or stir the syrup, while it is boiling, or else it will become grainy. Just let the sugar dissolve in the hot water and boil for 2 minutes to make the syrup nice and thick. Make sure to add the honey after the syrup stops boiling. This will help maintain the aromas of honey intact.
Tip: Also it is important to cut the baklava into pieces before baking.
Always laddle really slowly the cold 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 to cool down completely before serving.
How to store your Baklava?
Baklava can be stored both out of the fridge and in your fridge. To keep its phyllo crisp, store it at room temperature covered with some cling film for up to 2-3 days. If you want to keep it for up to a week, store it covered with cling film in the fridge.
So go ahead, give this super easy Greek baklava recipe a try and let everyone think you are a master chef!
Similar recipes to try
If you love a traditional syrupy greek desert, the below recipes are made for you! Enjoy!
- Baklava Cheesecake
- Chocolate Baklava
- Greek baklava rolls recipe (Saragli)
- Chocolate Souffle in Baklava Pouches recipe
- Galaktoboureko with Kataifi (Greek Custard and shredded phyllo pie)
- Homemade Kataifi recipe
- Greek Ekmek Kataifi recipe (Custard and whipped cream pastry with syrup)
- Greek Yogurt Cake Soaked in Syrup Recipe (Yiaourtopita)
- Karidopita/Karithopita recipe (Greek Walnut Cake with Syrup)
- Greek Ravani / Revani recipe (Coconut cake with syrup)
- Traditional Greek Galaktoboureko recipe (Greek Custard Pie with Syrup)
- Loukoumades recipe (Greek Donuts with Honey and Walnuts)
- Orange cake with syrup – Portokalopita
- Samali – Semolina cake with mastic syrup
The best traditional Greek Baklava recipe! A classic Baklava dessert with layers of phyllo, walnuts and honey to amaze your guests with it’s authentic taste
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 honey or glucose (2.8 oz.)
- zest of 1 lemon or orange
- 1 cinnamon stick
- To prepare this Greek baklava recipe, start by melting the butter in a saucepan over low heat, being careful not to burn it. Use a cooking brush to butter the bottom and sides of a baking pan. (For this baklava recipe you will need a large baking pan approx. 40*30cm / 15*12 inch). Begin by layering the sheets of phyllo on the bottom of the baking dish to form the base. Layer the sheets one at a time, making sure to sprinkle each one with melted butter. Use about 10-12 layers for the base.
- 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 (10-15 of them), sprinkling each one with melted butter and brush the top of the baklava with enough butter. You could also try adding some of the filling in between layers of filo.
- Place the baklava in the fridge for 15 minutes to make it easier to cut into pieces. Remove from the fridge and using a sharp knife cut all the way down into pieces. If you fancy the taste of clove, place one whole clove into the middle of each baklava piece and sprinkle the top with some cold water.
- Place the baklava in preheated oven at 150C / 300F 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. Into a small pot mix all the ingredients for the syrup (except honey) and bring to the boil. Boil for about 2 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Take it off the heat and stir in the honey. Let the syrup cool down. You can also put the syrup in the fridge. 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!
- Serving Size: 1 piece
- Calories: 398kcal
- Sugar: 28.3g
- Sodium: 106.6mg
- Fat: 25g
- Saturated Fat: 7.9g
- Unsaturated Fat: 15.8g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 42.1g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 4.8g
- Cholesterol: 26.9mg
Keywords: Greek Baklava, Traditional Honey Baklava recipe, How to make Baklava, Baklava filling with Walnuts, Baklava origin