This classic and easy homemade baklava recipe is quick to make, with cinnamon and cloves spiced walnuts layered between flaky sheets of phyllo pastry, and drizzled with an incredible honey syrup. It makes a wonderful dessert for any time of the year but is known to be quite popular at Christmas time and the holidays.
Have you ever looked at something and just… fallen completely in love with it? I mean foodwise? Well, I'm in love with this handsome pastry!
When I tried baklava for the first time years ago, I just had to start making some of my own.
It makes for an absolutely perfect dessert… with it's flaky layers of baked pastry glazed in sticky sweet honey, spices and nuts. Completely irresistible. See why I'm in love? 🙂
I hope you enjoy this recipe! ❤️ If you give it a try, please let me know how it turned out for you in the comments section at the bottom of the page or share a pic of your om noms on Instagram and tag @dishesanddustbunnies! ❤️
*This post has been updated from an earlier version to include new photos and a few tweaks to the original recipe to make it even more scrumptious!*
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What is Baklava
Baklava is a delicious dessert made from layers of phyllo, butter, spiced nuts and soaked in a honey syrup. Several different cultures have their own different versions of baklava – there are Greek, Turkish, Lebanese and Middle Eastern versions of this amazingly scrumptious dessert. In today's post, this recipe is based on Greek baklava. In future posts, I'll share with you some different versions!
What is traditional Baklava made of?
In this post, I'm sharing a Greek-inspired version of baklava with you, which is likely the one most readers are familiar with.
Phyllo pastry – No matter which kind of baklava you try, phyllo pastry is always used as it creates a wonderful flaky texture with its layers.
Nuts and spices – This version of traditional baklava uses walnuts, but you can also use pistachios or a combination of both if you like. The nuts are seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg and chopped in a food processor.
Melted butter – this is used to brush onto the phyllo pastry in between layers.
Honey Syrup – Once the pastry has baked in the oven, a syrup made of a combination of honey, sugar, a little water, vanilla and some lemon juice is poured over the top. The baklava soaks this right up. Sticky and sweet – just right!
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How to Make Homemade Baklava
Want to know a secret? Baklava actually isn't hard to make! Yes, I'm completely serious. 🙂
This kind of dessert looks SUPER impressive but doesn't really take as much effort as it looks— my kind of dessert!
To make your baklava at home without much hassle, make sure you have each of the recipe components ready to go. Make that irresistible glaze/syrup – set it aside.
Process those walnuts (or whatever nut combination you like) with the spices, so they're in small pieces – set it aside.
Lay out your phyllo pastry between two damp dish towels, so they don't dry out while you work. Have your dish of melted butter on hand.
Then – you just put everything together as in the recipe below, cut them, then bake!
Once those crunchy little pastries are done baking, pour that glaze over the top and allow them to soak it up. Let them cool down and sit for a while to get to the right stickiness.
Then, eat them up! haha The easiest part is eating them. 🙂
How to store homemade baklava
Homemade baklava should be stored in an airtight container at either room temperature or in the fridge. I prefer to keep my baklava at room temperature as it keeps the texture and stickiness of the syrup just right. Whichever way you decided to store it, your baklava should be good for about two weeks. Honestly, though, we've always eaten our baklava within a few days of making it because it's so yummy!
Can Baklava be frozen?
Once baked, soaked in syrup, and cooled, you can wrap the baklava in plastic wrap and then place them in an air-tight container. They should be good for about 4 months in the freezer. When freezing them, I'd recommend packaging them in small batches so you can take a few pieces out as needed.
To eat after freezing, allow them to thaw on the counter at room temperature for a few hours or overnight.
- 4 1/4 cups walnuts (you can use a combination of nuts if you like ex. pistachios and walnuts)
- 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 package (16 oz) Phyllo pastry – I cut mine in half to fit the shape of the baking dish and used about 2/3 of the package
Honey Syrup Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Special Items Needed:
- 9“x13” glass baking dish
- Pastry brush
- 2 damp dish towels
How to Make Homemade Baklava
Before assembling your baklava, please have all your ingredients ready. Prepare the nuts and spices, the honey syrup, and lay out your phyllo pastry between 2 damp dish towels. This recipe is super easy to make; follow the instructions below. 😋
- Before beginning, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Prepare the Honey Syrup
- In a saucepan on medium heat, combine the ingredients for the syrup – except for the lemon juice – set this aside until needed.
- Use a whisk to combine the ingredients, dissolving the sugar and honey into the water.
- Bring the glaze to a boil, stirring continuously for 3 minutes.
- Turn down the heat and continue to heat the syrup until it has thickened and becomes the consistency of a light syrup. About 10-15 minutes. You can allow the syrup to reduce while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Once the syrup reaches the desired consistency, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
- Add the lemon juice and whisk to combine. Set this aside until needed at the end when the pastry comes out of the oven.
Prepare the Nuts and Spices
- To a food processor, add the nuts, cinnamon and ground cloves.
- Process until the nuts have been broken up into small pieces. Be careful to avoid processing the nuts too much – you don't want them powdered.
- Take a couple of spoon fulls of the nuts (couple tablespoons) and set them aside for sprinkling on top of the baklava at the end.
- Set aside the nuts until needed.
How to assemble the Baklava:
- Lay out your damp (not super wet) dish towels on the countertop. Lay the phyllo pastry out – flat between the two damp towels. This is important in preventing the pastry from drying out and cracking. As you create the layers in the next steps, make sure you re-cover the pasty with the top towel, so it doesn't dry out.
- Please have your melted butter, prepared nuts, honey syrup and everything laid out and ready to assemble.
- Brush some melted butter on the bottom of the baking dish.
- On top of the butter lay 2 – 4 sheets of pastry. (I find that 4 is a good number)
- On top of the pastry, brush on some melted butter.
- Sprinkle on top of the melted butter, some of the spiced nuts
- Repeat layering until all the nuts have been used. Layer order: Pastry, butter, nuts. The top and final layer should be pastry, then butter.
- Using a very sharp knife, cut the baklava into squares about 1 inch (4 rows by 7 to make a total of 28 squares). For the knife to cut easily, you can brush it with butter first.
- Put the baklava into the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the tops become golden.
- Once the baklava comes out of the oven, pour the glaze/syrup evenly over the top. Make sure you do this while the baklava is still hot.
- After pouring the syrup, sprinkle the reserved nuts over each square to make them look pretty! 😋
- Allow the baklava to cool for at least a couple of hours before serving. If you'd like, you can also allow it to settle overnight before serving, but I find a couple of hours to sit works fine.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake