We've had several Gr8 Dinners where Baklava would be the perfect dessert. It's about time we post the recipe, especially since Debbie and Phil recently hosted a Middle East Feast and asked me to bring it!
One of our good friends is from Lebanon so I decided to go with the Lebanese style of Baklava rather than the Greek style. I figured I'd be able to get an honest critique from our friend (and some tips) since he grew up eating this delicacy.
When I asked him for tips (and his mom's recipe) he said, "Why would you make it, when you can buy it?" And I said, "Because that's what we do here at Great 8 Friends"!
The main difference is that Greek baklava uses honey whereas the Lebanese style uses a sugar syrup; a YUMMY sugar syrup if I might say! So here you go, homemade, flaky, sweet and tasty Baklava!
Lebanese Baklava or Baklawa
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons rose water
- Put the phyllo in the refrigerator 24 hours ahead of time to defrost.
- Put the pistachios and sugar in the bowl of your food processor and pulse.
- After about 5 pulses, sprinkle 1 teaspoon rose water over the pistachios then continue pulsing until finely ground. Be careful with your pulsing so you don't end up with pistachio butter!
- Heat oven to 325°.
- Using a pastry brush, brush ghee over the surface of a rimmed sheet pan, including the sides.
- Unroll your defrosted phyllo sheets on a smooth surface and have a piece of waxed paper or slightly damp towel ready to keep the unused pieces covered.
- Peel off one piece of phyllo and carefully lay it flat on the bottom of the buttered pan. If it tears, it's okay, just put it back together like a puzzle.
- Brush some ghee over to cover the surface. You can hold the phyllo sheet down with your fingertips to prevent it from moving.
- Lay another sheet of phyllo over the first and brush with ghee. Continue with the phyllo and ghee until you have 8 sheets stacked up.
- Spread half of the nut mixture over the 8 sheets of phyllo.
- Lay a sheet of phyllo on top of the nuts and brush with ghee. Continue stacking the phyllo until 5 sheets are stacked.
- Spread the remaining nuts over the phyllo.
- Lay another sheet of phyllo on top of the nuts, brush with ghee and continue with phyllo and ghee until all the sheets are used. (There should be 5 to 6 sheets in this layer.)
- Using a sharp knife cut the Baklava into diamonds or triangles.
- Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until light brown.
- While the pastry is baking make the Sugar Syrup.
Rose Sugar Syrup
- Put the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, the sugar should be completely dissolved.
- Remove from heat and stir in the rose water.
- Set aside to cool.
Completing the Baklava
- As soon as the pastry is removed from the oven, slowly pour the Rose Sugar Syrup over to completely cover. And listen to the satisfying sizzle.
- Let cool and serve with ice cream. In Lebanon they serve Baklava with Turkish coffee, yum!
Gr8 Do Ahead Tips:
- The Sugar Syrup can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Baklava can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time and will keep at room temperature in an airtight container.