Step by Step Baklava Recipe [and how to cut it]

How to make baklava | All that's Jas

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Would you like to learn how to make popular Mediterranean dessert baklava? It is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of fillo filled with chopped walnuts or pistachio and held together with syrup or honey.  Impress your guests following this step-by-step recipe.

 

P I N  TO SAVE FOR LATER

Fillo dough sheets filled with ground nuts and drenched in syrup make baklava

 

 

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Don’t you just love it? The making of this rich, popular Mediterranean dessert might seem daunting, but it really is a simple process.

 

Since I never enjoyed baking as much as cooking I made my first baklava when I was well into my 40’s.  I don’t know why I was so intimidated by it, it’s not at all as difficult as I thought it would be. So don’t make the same mistake and wait. Make it now! If I can do it, you can do it too.

 

WHAT IS BAKLAVA?

 

This is a sweet dessert with layers of fillo a.k.a. phyllo pastry sheets filled with chopped or ground walnuts and held together with lemony syrup. There’s nothing better than homemade baklava.

 

The easiest way to prepare it is in a large pan (9×13″) assembled much like lasagna and cut into squares or diamonds, although you can form it into pocket shapes, triangles, and even roll them into tight ropes.

 

Easy step-by-step tutorial for making Mediterranean favorite dessert, #baklava and four ways to cut it. #walnuts #dessertClick to Tweet

 

Even though there are different kinds of baklava –  some are filled with pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, coconut, chocolate,  with fruit, with beer (yes), and poppy or sesame seeds, it all comes down to filled pastry sheets drenched in syrup. And sometimes placed on top of a cheesecake, ha. I had to 😉

 

Obviously, the syrup can differ too. To the base, you can add flavors like lemon, orange juice, honey, rose water, or spices like cinnamon or cloves.

 

Some very skilled people make the filo dough from scratch, much like the dough I used in the making of the burek-meat pie but stretched even thinner. I never got that ambitious so I stick to the store-bought fillo dough.  

 

The most popular brands are The Fillo Factory and Athens Fillo Dough. You can find it at any local store and even at Whole Foods or online.

 

Round baklava cut into a star shape

 

BAKLAVA ORIGINS

 

Many associate this desserts with Greece. The history of it is not well documented but the masses seem to agree baklava was first developed in the Ottoman Empire, now Turkey.

 

Since they ruled for centuries over parts of Europe, Asia, the Caucasus, and Africa, baklava consequently stayed and is to date a popular and favorite dessert of the Mediterranean, The Balkans, and the Middle East.

 

Each country has added something unique to their recipe, hence the many variations. Some recipes place the filling right in the middle of the pastry sheets, rather than layering them intermittently and others, like the Greek version, yield the syrup and their baklava is crisp and flaky.

 

All things considered, I have never tasted bad baklava.

 

pouring lemony syrup over baklava

 

HOW TO CUT BAKLAVA

 

As mentioned above, there are different shapes you can cut it in, but we will stick with the basics for now. Once you feel comfortable with making this dessert you can invent your own unique cut. Always cut it before baking!

 

How to cut baklava into squares, triangles, and diamonds

 

  1. Square Cut: First, cut vertically into strips then horizontally, or vice versa
  2. Triangle Cut: First, cut vertically into strips, then horizontally, and finally diagonally
  3. Diamond Cut: First, cut vertically into strips, then diagonally
  4. Star Cut (round pan): First, slice it in half. Second, cut each half in half, then each quarter in half until you have an octagon. Next, cut each octagon section parallel with a left line. Finally, cut each octagon section parallel with a right line (basically making diamond cuts).

 

How to cut baklava into a star shape

 

BAKLAVA INGREDIENTS:

 

You really need just a few simple ingredients:

 

  • Fillo sheets (filo or phyllo)
  • Walnuts (or pistachio or combination of both)
  • Butter (or oil)
  • Sugar
  • Lemon
  • Cinnamon

 

the best Baklava recipe

 

HOW TO MAKE BAKLAVA:

 

*Details and the printable recipe are available at the bottom of this post.

 

  1. First, make the syrup: Boil sugar, lemon slices, and water until sugar dissolves and the mixture is syrupy about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Next, make the filling: ground walnuts in a food processor. You can also use a rotary grater if you have one. Combine walnuts with cinnamon, cardamom if using, and sugar.
  3. Assemble: Layer a few sheets of buttered fillo in a pan on top of each other and sprinkle with walnut mixture. Repeat until filling is used up. Cut the unbaked baklava into squares or diamonds all the way to the bottom of the pan. 
  4. Bake: Bake in 350 F preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and immediately spoon syrup over it. Cool before serving.

 

Making baklava layers

 

RECIPE TIPS:

 

  • Variations: Substitute half of the walnuts with pistachios.
  • Use ghee instead of butter.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of honey to the syrup.
  • Add 1 tablespoon rose water to the cooked syrup.
  • Always pour cold syrup over hot pastry.
  • If using Fillo Factory fillo, layer 3 sheets on the bottom and top as they are a bit thicker than other brands’. 

 

 

Servings of baklava

 

If you make this baklava recipe, be sure to leave a comment and or give this recipe a rating!

 

I love to hear from you and I always respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you are…

 

MAKING THIS RECIPE OR OTHERS?

Don’t forget to post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #ALLTHATSJAS.

 

I can’t wait to see your spin on it! Scrolling through the photos of recipes you tried is my favorite!

 

OTHER BAKLAVA RECIPES YOU SHOULD TRY:

 

EASY MEDITERRANEAN ROLLED BAKLAVA

NUT-FREE RASPBERRY BAKLAVA

BAKLAVA ICE-CREAM

BAKLAVA CHEESECAKE

 


Round baklava cut into a star shape
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Baklava Recipe

Love baklava? Make this rich, popular Mediterranean dessert with layers of filo (phyllo) pastry sheets filled with chopped nuts and held together with syrup.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Resting Time4 hrs
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Bosnian
Servings: 20
Author: Jas

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom optional
  • 16 oz. 1 package fillo dough - pastry sheets, thawed
  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter melted

Syrup

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lemon sliced

DIRECTIONS:

  • First, make the syrup. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, lemon slices, and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar dissolves and the mixture is syrupy about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • Next, in a food processor pulse walnuts until finely chopped or ground. You can also use a rotary grater if you have one. In a large bowl, combine walnuts with cinnamon, cardamom if using, and sugar.
  • Unroll fillo dough. Trim the whole stack, if necessary, to fit the 13x9-inch pan. The easiest way to do this is with a pair of scissors. Cover fillo sheets with a clean cloth to keep from drying out as you work. If you work fast enough, you don't need to cover it.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of a pan.
  • Place 1 sheet of dough in prepared baking pan; using a pastry brush, butter thoroughly. Repeat with 4 more sheets of fillo, laying each on top of the other. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of walnut filling. Add two sheets of fillo dough, buttering each sheet, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup of nuts. Repeat until filling is used up, finishing with 5 sheets of fillo dough on top. So it goes like this: 5 buttered sheets + filling, 2 buttered sheets + filling, repeat..., finish with 5 buttered sheets.
  • Using a sharp knife cut the unbaked baklava into squares or diamonds all the way to the bottom of the pan. Pour remaining butter over the whole baklava and lightly sprinkle the top of pastry with cold water. This inhibits the pastry from curling.
  • Finally, bake baklava for 50-60 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and immediately spoon syrup over it.
  • Let cool for at least 4 hours.

RECIPE NOTES:

  • Variations: Substitute half of the walnuts with pistachios.
  • Use butter ghee instead of butter.
  • Add 2 tablespoons honey to the syrup.
  • Add 1 tablespoon rose water to the cooked syrup.
  • Always pour cold syrup over hot baklava. 
  • If using Fillo Factory fillo, layer 3 sheets on the bottom and top as they are a bit thicker than other brands'. 
Tried this recipe?Snap a photo and mention @all_thats_jas or tag #allthatsjas on Instagram for a chance to be featured!

NUTRITIONS:

Nutrition Facts
Baklava Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 342 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 113mg5%
Potassium 124mg4%
Carbohydrates 47g16%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 33g37%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 8IU0%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 28mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Welcome to #EatLikeAnEgyptian!
Today we are having fun exploring our favorite Egyptian cuisine recipes to commemorate the holiday of Eid-el-Fitr, which begins at sundown.

 

 

 

Pin It: The Best Baklava Recipe

Baklava is a popular dessert in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Balkan cuisine made of layers of filo dough pastry sheets, ground nuts and held together with syrup.

 

See this recipe featured on A Pinch of Joy.

 

 

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58 Comment

  1. Reply
    [email protected]'s World
    July 1, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Looks delicious , but almost too pretty to eat …almost! 😉 Happy FF and weekend to you!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      July 1, 2017 at 10:33 pm

      Thank you, Arlene! Not quite so pretty, so we ate it all, lol 😉

  2. Reply
    Miz Helen
    June 30, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I just pinned your beautiful Baklava! Hope you have a great 4th of July weekend and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 30, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Thank you bunches!

  3. Reply
    image-in-ing: weekly photo linky
    June 29, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Such a lovely dessert.
    Thanks for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/06/shades-of-purple.html

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 30, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Thank you!

  4. Reply
    Roseann M Hampton
    June 29, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Yum! I love how you show the different ways to cut it! Last time I made it we just cut it into little rectangles.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      Hi, Roseann! Nothing wrong with little rectangles – still tastes delicious 🙂

  5. Reply
    [email protected] free A-Z Blog
    June 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I made Baklava once but it didn’t look as beautiful as yours. Thank you for the cutting patterns. I am pinning this in case I ever make it again.
    My mother in law is the pro- she is 92 and still makes a mean baklava. Thanks for the great post

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 29, 2017 at 8:52 am

      I’m sure your baklava tasted great. It gets prettier with the time – practice makes perfect (or almost perfect in my case, lol). I’m impressed with your MIL. Wow! I hope I’ll be still baking baklava when I’m 92. Heck, I hope I’ll be still alive, ha!

  6. Reply
    Molly
    June 28, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Mmm I love Baklava

    Mollyx

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 28, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      I don’t know anybody who doesn’t 🙂

  7. Reply
    rue
    June 27, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Hi Jas 🙂

    I’ve never had baklava, but it looks good! I might try my hand at it 🙂

    I hope you’re enjoying your summer. It’s been hot as hades here.

    Oh and no, I don’t think having a scarf collection is weird at all 😉

    xo,
    rue

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 27, 2017 at 11:44 pm

      LOL, Rue, that makes me feel better 😀
      It actually cooled down quite a bit here – I need my fleece in the evenings!
      Stay cool and don’t turn the oven on for the baklava, that might not help, lol.

  8. Reply
    Helen at the Lazy Gastronome
    June 27, 2017 at 10:49 am

    I love baklava – never tried making it though – Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up~

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 27, 2017 at 11:37 pm

      Give it a try, Helen! It’s not hard at all!

  9. Reply
    Mia
    June 26, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Love it! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 27, 2017 at 12:58 am

      Thanks, Mia.

  10. Reply
    Sue Lau
    June 26, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Gorgeous dessert! Thanks for joining me in this event!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 27, 2017 at 12:57 am

      Thank you for organizing it, Sue! It was fun.

  11. Reply
    Michelle
    June 26, 2017 at 4:31 am

    Oh no here we go again. And I actually prepared myself before coming to visit and had breakfast first to keep the hungry wolf at bay. It didn’t help I’m afraid 😉 I’m still try eat my laptop every time. You’re recipes are always so delectable Jas, how do you do it?

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 26, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Maybe you should just stop visiting me, Michelle, before you sue me for the computer damage, LOL. I appreciate your love, my friend!

  12. Reply
    Camilla @ Culinary Adventures
    June 26, 2017 at 12:23 am

    I can’t wait to try this! I love bakava though I’ve never made it myself. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 26, 2017 at 10:16 am

      You’re welcome, Camilla! Hope you’ll give it a try :). Thanks for stopping in!

  13. Reply
    Mary
    June 25, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Oh yum! One of my all time favorites! I try to not make it because I am capable of eating the whole pan all by myself. And you know you cannot blame me!! The only thing we do differently is we also add a bit of cinnamon and cloves to the syrup. And we put cloves on top of the diamond shapes.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 25, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      Cloves, huh? Interesting! I actually added a little bit of cinnamon to the nuts, Mary, which I usually don’t do. I like the hint of it. Each year we go to a Greek Festival here in our little town and I see many different baklava shapes and other sweets similar to baklava. They all have nuts in them and kind of taste the same, lol. Yummy, though!

  14. Reply
    Ann
    June 25, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Mmmmm…yummmm! I’m mesmerized by the different cutting styles you have there. The star one is the best looking one. Somehow I think I’m not going to be able to cut so nicely and would massacre the baklava!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 25, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      I highly doubt that, Ann! 😀

  15. Reply
    Mrs Shoes
    June 24, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    That star diagram alone is a kicker!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 24, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      😀 Thank you, Mrs Shoes!

  16. Reply
    Karen
    June 24, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I can’t wait to try this! Me and phyllo have an odd relationship, but all of your instructions are so helpful!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 24, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      Show the phyllo who’s the boss, Karen! LOL Thanks for stopping in!

  17. Reply
    Carlee
    June 24, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Your baklava is beautiful!! For some reason I am intimidated as well, but I may just take you at your word and give it a go!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 24, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      Do it! I’m using filo for our apple week 🙂

  18. Reply
    Amanda
    June 24, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Jas this looks delicious! Baklava is one of my favourites but I’ve never made it myself. Time to have a go now. Thank you 🙂

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 24, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      Thank you, Amanda. It gets easier with each time you make it 🙂

  19. Reply
    Wendy
    June 24, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Your baklava is gorgeous. You should be very proud. I really love the presentation of the star shaped cut.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 24, 2017 at 9:17 am

      Thank you so much, Wendy 🙂

  20. Reply
    Caroline
    June 24, 2017 at 8:00 am

    I LOVE baklava – I have lovely memories making it with my mum (and enjoying it on trips to Greece and around)

    1. Reply
      Jas
      June 24, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Hi, Caroline! I LOVE baklava a little too much too. My waist can vouch for that, lol. Growing up I had all these family members making it for me so I didn’t need to learn how to make it myself until much much later.

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