Classic Baklava is a Greek pastry that is rewarding to make at home and makes a wonderful holiday gift.
I’ve dedicated a good portion of this blog’s content to baklava-inspired treats. First there was Baklava Cheesecake, then Baklava Pull-Apart Bread (swoon!), Greek Honey-Nut Pie, and finally, Baklava Cigars. I figure it’s about time that I post the genuine article!
Classic Baklava is not hard to make, but filo can be a little fussy to work with sometimes because the dough sheets are so thin. Make sure your dough is properly thawed and cover it with a damp towel once you open the packages. This will greatly help with handling the dough.
You’ll need a 16 ounce package of filo dough, which contains forty 14×9-inch sheets. You’ll also need a pound of nuts; I used a mixture of walnuts and pecans because that’s what I had on hand but I prefer pistachios over pecans. You’ll also need 2 sticks of butter, cinnamon and whole cloves.
Baked baklava gets drenched in delicious honey syrup, and you should prepare it before you start making the baklava because it needs to cool completely. It is simple a mixture of honey, sugar, and water with a splash of lemon juice.
Grind the nuts fine in a food processor and toss them with the cinnamon. Butter a 13×9 baking dish and lay one sheet of filo in the bottom. It will be slightly larger than the pan, so scrunch it up a little. It’s totally fine for the filo to be a little wrinkly.
Lightly butter the sheet and place another on top. Repeat this process until you have 10 sheets layered in the bottom of the pan. One quick note! You don’t have to drench the sheets in butter, just give them a quick light brushing and move along swiftly. Top the 10 sheets with 3/4 cup ground nuts. Layer and lightly butter 5 more filo sheets on top; sprinkle on another 3/4 cup nuts. Repeat this three more times, and then top with 10 buttered filo sheets, just as you started with at the bottom of the pan.
Cut the layered pastry diagonally each way using a small sharp paring knife. Push a whole clove into the center of each diamond.
Bake until deeply golden and flaky! My batch was ready at just under 1 hour.
Listen up because this part is important! Pour the cooled honey syrup over the hot baklava. You should hear the pan sizzle with this addition. Don’t let the baklava cool before you pour on the syrup or it will become soggy. This is also true if you poured the hot syrup over the hot baklava – soggy town, and nobody wants that!
This is high yield, so you can divvy up pieces in waxed paper-lined tins for gift giving, or you could give one whole batch in a disposable pan to the deserving person at the very top of your ‘nice’ list.
Want more giftable goodies?
Last year’s seventeenth day advent recipe was
- 3/4 cup 6 oz. water
- 1/2 cup 170g honey
- 1 cup 200g granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup 8 oz. unsalted butter, melted
- 16 ounce package Filo dough 14×9 sheets thawed per directions
- 4 cups 1 lb. mixed nuts, chopped (I used walnuts and pecans)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 30 whole cloves approximate
- Combine the water, honey, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high until bubbling. Stir well. When the sugar is melted and the ingredients are well incorporated, remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Butter the bottom of a 13x9x3-inch baking pan.
- Combine the ground nuts and cinnamon in a large bowl.
- Lay one sheet of filo dough in the bottom of the buttered dish. The dough sheet will be larger than the pan, so scrunch it slightly so that it fits. It’s okay for it to be wrinkled. Brush lightly with butter (just 2-3 strokes of a pastry brush). Repeat process until you have layered 10 sheets of filo in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle over 3/4 cup of the chopped nuts mixture.
Here’s a cheat sheet of the order:
- 10 sheets, nuts
- 5 sheets, nuts
- 5 sheets, nuts
- 5 sheets, nuts
- 5 sheets, nuts
- 10 sheets
- Layer and butter 5 sheets of filo on top, sprinkle on 3/4 cup of nuts. Repeat process 3 more times. Finally, layer and butter 10 sheets on top. Cut pastry diagonally both ways with a sharp paring knife so that cuts form diamond shapes. Push a single whole clove in the center of each diamond shape.
- Bake the pan for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the pastry is deeply golden. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately pour on the cooled honey syrup mixture. Let the baklava stand at room temperature uncovered for 2-3 hours, or until the syrup is completely soaked into the pastry.
- Store baklava at room temperature with a sheet of aluminum foil or divvy pieces into tins for gift-giving. Keeps at room temperature for 10-12 days.
The nut mixture can be combined with the zest of one orange or lemon to punctuate flavor.
Finally! Someone knows how to make real baklava! This is just how my mother used to make it….pure sweet perfection! I've seen so many recipes out there, and they use one sheet of filo between the layers of nuts….which will disappear into nothing when baked! Gotta have the layers to hold all that honey-nutty goodness! You're awesome!
I’m so jealous, mine turned out soggy. I’ll get there😜
Oh no! So sorry you had trouble. If you have questions I’d be glad to help. 🙂
Hello! I just wanted to say how much I've been loving your advent theme this year! Every year I make tins of cookies for my family, and this year I'm super excited to feature the Pink Peppermint Pigs and the Speedy Turtle candies, and now this Baklava! Your posts are always so beautiful and your recipes fantastic. Thank you so much! Sending much holiday love from Pennsylvania xo
Hello, hello! Thank you so much for the kind words! That is a lovely tradition and your family is lucky to get such thoughtful gifts. I hope you have a great holiday!
Hi! I was wondering, how deep does the baking dish need to be?