Baklava is a popular Greek and Middle Eastern pastry made from layers of buttered phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and soaked with a sugar or honey syrup. Baklava is a traditional Easter specialty, consisting of forty layers of phyllo to represent the forty days of Lent.
The history of baklava is not well documented. It has been claimed by many ethnic groups, but there is strong evidence that it is of Central Asian Turkic origin.
My first encounter with Baklava was in Oklahoma. I was watching the morning news and they were featuring the Baklavas from Muhanna Sweets shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma and how good they were. So, I decided to order some online and they actually delivered them. They were no jokes indeed. So GOOD!!!! The first time I had them and certainly they were unforgettable. I saw the Baklava recipe on Martha Stewart Living cookbook again and I immediately just wrote myself a note as one of the desserts I need to make and today was the day.
Baklava wasn’t actually hard to make. Though, it was kinda labor intensive in the layering of the phyllo sheets part, but other than that, it’s pretty straight forward.
The smell of the baking Baklava is incredible. You know..the butter, the spices, the nuts….. I’m going nuts (in a good way!). They are even better when you get to eat them 🙂 So flaky, so buttery, so nutty, so sweet….so…yeah..GOOD! My husband never had it before and he was impressed. That crunch when you bit into it will sure break the silence in the room! AMAZING!
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
- 3 cups very finely chopped walnuts, almonds, or a mix
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 lb frozen phyllo pastry, preferably extra-thin, thawed
- 1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine the nuts, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in a bowl
- Unroll the phyllo; halve crosswise. Immediately cover with plastic wrap and then a damp towel. Keep covered while working
- Brush a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan with melted butter. Lay 1 sheet phyllo in pan. Lightly brush with the melted butter; cover with another sheet of phyllo, and butter again. Layer the phyllo, and butter 5 more times each, ending with the phyllo
- Sprinkle phyllo with 2 Tbsp nut mixture. Lay 1 sheet phyllo over, brush with butter, and cover with a sheet of phyllo. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of the nut mixture; repeat layering with butter, phyllo, and nuts until the filling is used up, for a total of about 20 layers. Layer 1 sheet of phyllo over; brush with butter. Layer phyllo and butter 6 more times
- Using a sharp knife, score surface of pastry (1/4 inch deep) diagonally into diamonds (about 2 inches long). Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes or longer (depending on your oven). Transfer to a rack to cool 5 to 10 minutes
- Meanwhile, place the sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer 3 to 4 minutes
- Pour the syrup over the surface of the baklava; let cool completely. To serve, use a sharp knife to cut into pieces along the scored lines