Saturday, May 11, 2013

RECIPE | Super Shiny Legit Baklava

Major apologies kiddos! I've been busy lately and haven't had time to post/do anything for my woefully neglected blog :(

I've only recently rekindled my affection for this honey-soaked Greek/Turkish/Mediterranean/Middle Eastern sweet after having had Hayat's Kitchen's amaaazing baklava (their food's good too, kids; will get around to the review one day :P).

Amazingly, there are a lot of ways that baklava can be made wrong and that's probably why a lot of people don't prefer it. I myself have had my share of sickeningly-sweet drippingly-syrupy baklava that hurt my teeth terribly. Browsing around the good ol' interwebs, all the recipes I ran into had absolutely ridiculous amounts of sugar added, which causes you to end up losing baklava's characteristic honey flavor. I'm no baklava expert but I'm sure people wouldn't enjoy something that would be painful to eat, so I made up my own recipe drastically reducing the sugar/butter used.

This recipe came out of a spontaneous midnight baking session ( usual!) and I wasn't able to photograph the process you're going to have to take my word for now via my single phone-quality photo that this came out Dericious with a capital D.

Super Shiny Legit Baklava

(Makes ~40 pieces)



(1) 1 package frozen phyllo dough (You're going to use ~15 sheets cut in half)
(2) 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) of butter
(3) 1 pound nuts of your choice (I used almonds but pistachio is traditional; by all means mix different types of nuts if you want!)
(4) ~2 tsp cinnamon (Five-spice is also an interesting alternative)
(5) 1/4 cup granulated sugar


(1) 1 cup water
(2) 3/4 cup honey
(3) 1 tsp vanilla OR lemon/orange zest OR lemon/orange juice



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Thaw your phyllo dough and unroll. Cutting my sheets in half ended up fitting my glass pan perfectly. Keep your phyllo dough covered when not in use since it can dry out quickly.

3. Line your pan with parchment paper. Let overlap the edges of your pan a little bit for easy removal.

4. Layer on 20 sheets of phyllo on the bottom of the pan. You want a thick, sturdy layer of phyllo to support your nut layer. Other recipes recommend brushing melted butter in between each sheet but I found this step sort of useless since the syrup eventually settles and soaks the bottom anyway.

5. In a food processor, combine the nuts, sugar, and cinnamon/five spice and grind to a rough chop. If you don't have a food processor, roughly chop your nuts and mix in the sugar and cinnamon/five spice evenly.

6. Layer the nut mixture evenly on top of the phyllo.

7. On top of the nut mixture, layer on 10 sheets of phyllo, brushing each layer with butter in between. You want the top layer to puff up, as opposed to the bottom foundation since it will be weighed down with nuts anyway.

8. To make the traditional diamond shape, make 4 vertical cuts and then start cutting diagonally to get ~2 inch pieces.

9. Bake for 30-50 minutes depending on your oven until a golden-brown color. It's best to start checking your oven at 30 minutes to make sure it doesn't burn.


1. As your baklava is baking, prepare the syrup. Combine the water, honey, and flavoring (your choice of vanilla, lemon/orange zest, lemon/orange juice) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. 

2. Once it boils, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes with occasional stirring. 

3. As soon as the baklava is out of the oven, generously pour the syrup over the baklava and enjoy the sweet crackling/bubbling noise it makes. Make sure the syrup reaches the corners and cracks so that the baklava is thoroughly soaked.

4. Now comes the hardest part...waiting! Let the baklava soak uncovered 6-8 hours or overnight.

5. When it's ready, just grab the extra parchment paper over the sides of the pan and lift. It's best to serve in individual paper cupcake liners since it's so difficult to extract each piece individually. 

Enjoy! These are super yummy served warm or cold :)


-I found that the top layer of phyllo didn't really stick to my nut layer so I would suggest dividing this into smaller pans or making enough syrup to cover at least until the top of the nut layer.

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