I am really over the moon right now! I finally made Baklava.
Baklava is a baked sweet which is made of Filo / Phyllo / Fillo pastry. It has endless layers of the pastry, nuts and butter soaked in sweet flavoured syrup.
Filo pastry is nothing but basic flour dough rolled into thin sheets. The highlight of baklava is the Filo pastry; thinner the better.
During my college days, the one day I decided to bunk was the day we were taught Baklava. Since then, it has been kind of an “adhuri icchha” (unfulfilled wish) to make this utterly indulgent sweet.
Baklava is a lavish (in my opinion) sweet that is popularly made in Middle East, Greece and some parts of North Africa. All have different versions of the sweet. What I am sharing today is a Walnut Baklava Recipe which is inspired by the Middle Eastern variety.
Filo / Phyllo Pastry is the common ingredient in any type of Baklava. What varies is the choice of nuts, the flavour of the syrup and the shape of the sweet.
For eg, Greeks usually use Pistachios in their baklava and soak it in just honey. While the Lebanese scent their soaking syrup with orange rind. A special kind of Turkish Baklava even has cream in it. These are differences based on traditional ways of making the sweet but these days you see all kinds of baklava being relished in every region that claims its origin.
If you have never eaten Baklava or even heard about it then let me tell you, you have missed out on one of the best things life has to offer.
All this while I thought Baklava was an extremely difficult dish to make but no, I was wrong. Now, I feel Baklava is the easiest sweet I have ever made. If you have ready made Filo pastry (which is advisable) then this sweet is a breeze. Something even a 7 year old can rustle up.
Filo Pastry is not commonly found in local Indian stores. I managed to buy an Australian brand from Nature’s Basket Stores in Mumbai. One can easily find it in stores selling imported or high-end ingredients. However, making Filo pastry at home is also a possibility. If you can manage to roll out thin films of the dough then nothing like it.
Walnut Baklava Recipe
1 readymade Filo / Phyllo pastry packet (not mentioning the weight or size because ultimately you will have to adjust it to the pan you are making it in. I have mentioned my pan size and the ingredients are as per that. )
½ cup melted butter (salted is fine)
To be mixed together in a bowl
¾ cups finely chopped walnuts (roast them for added flavour)
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon powder (use freshly made for better results)
2 teaspoons sugar
For the syrup
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
¼ cup honey
2 tsp lemon juice
Step 1 – Mix walnuts, cinnamon powder and sugar together in a bowl. Keep aside.
Step 2 – For the syrup, heat sugar and water on medium flame till the sugar melts complete. Bring to a gentle boil and switch off the flame. Add honey and mix well. Let syrup cool completely at room temperature then mix in lemon juice.
Step 1 – Pre-heat oven at 200C.
Step 2 – Carefully unroll the Filo on a dry surface. Please follow instructions as per the pack.
Step 3 – Cut the sheet as per your pan size. I used 4 inch x 6 inch sheets. In total 20 sheets.
Step 4 – Start by greasing the pan with melted butter. Place one Filo sheet and brush butter on it. Repeat this with 6 Filo sheets.
Step 5 – After 6 Filo layers, sprinkle about half the nuts.
Step 6 – Repeat Filo and butter layers once again using 6 sheets.
Step 7 – Top with remaining nut mixture and cover this with remaining Filo sheets (layering with butter). Fold in the Filo from sides.
Step 8 – Brush butter on the top most layer and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Refrigeration just makes it easier to cut the baklava neatly.
Step 9 – Before baking cut baklava into squares using a sharp knife.
Step 10 – Place the pan in the bottom most rack of the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes at 200C. The sheets will turn golden brown and that should be the indicator of doneness.
Step 11 – Once out of the oven pour the syrup immediately over the baklava.Let syrup seep for minimum 4 hours at room temperature. After 4 hours refrigerate and serve baklava as and when needed. Garnish with chopped walnuts before serving.
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Till then, Love Being a Mommy!