Homemade Baklava! It's flaky, tasty and fun to make. Putting those fine layers of phyllo together to make this sweet pastry is so satisfying.
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!
First of all, be sure to move the phyllo from the freezer to the fridge the day before so it can defrost slowly.
Make the Nut Filling
Grab your food processor and add the pistachios and sugar to the bowl. Then pulse about 5 times. Open the bowl and sprinkle the rose water over the nuts. Close the top and continue pulsing until the nuts are finely ground. This smells absolutely divine!
The reason for pulsing and not just turning the processor on and letting it run is that you don't want nut butter, you want ground nuts.
So you need to watch during the pulsing to ensure that you are grinding the nuts and not turning them into butter. (That's a different recipe!)
Prepare the Phyllo
Melt the ghee, then use a pastry brush to coat the bottom and sides of your baking pan. Set aside while you open the phyllo.
Carefully unroll the defrosted phyllo. Have a large sheet of waxed paper or a slightly damp dish towel available.
You will use this to cover the pieces of phyllo not in use so they don't dry out. Phyllo sheets are super thin and can quickly dry out and be unusable.
Peel off one sheet of phyllo and lay it on on the prepared sheet pan, smoothing it out. If it tears, don't worry, just put it back together like a puzzle.
Brush the top of this piece of phyllo with ghee, you can hold it down with your fingers if it's moving.
Then lay another sheet of phyllo on top of the ghee. Brush this one with ghee and continue with the ghee and the phyllo until you have 8 sheets one on top of the other.
Fill the Phyllo
Sprinkle half of the nut mixture on top of the 8 stacked sheets of phyllo. Spread it out as evenly as possible. Don't press too hard.
Pick up another sheet of phyllo from your reserved stack and lay it on top of the nuts. Then brush it with the ghee. Continue stacking the sheets with the ghee in between until there are 5 altogether.
Spread the remaining nut mixture on top of this stack.
Lay another sheet of phyllo on top of the nuts and brush with the ghee. Do this until all the phyllo sheets are used. This top layer should be about 5 to 6 pieces of phyllo.
Choose a very sharp knife and cut diagonally across the sheets to create diamonds or triangles. The put the pan in the oven to bake.
The Rose Simple Syrup
While the pastry is baking make the syrup. Put the sugar, water, and juice into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil this mixture for about 5 minutes. The sugar should be completely dissolved by this time.
Remove from the heat and stir in the rose water. Set this aside.
Finishing the Baklava
As soon as you remove the Baklava from the oven, slowly pour the Rose Syrup over the entire thing. You should hear a sizzle as the syrup hits the hot pastry.
Set the entire pan on a cooling rack and let cool before serving.
How to Serve
We love to serve this rich, crispy, crunchy dessert with vanilla ice cream. In Lebanon, they serve it with Turkish coffee... yummy!
More Delicious Desserts!
- Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
- Easy Apple Cake
- Panna Cotta with Mango
- Ricotta Cake with Orange Zest
- Blueberry Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce
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Lebanese Baklava or Baklawa
- Food Processor
- 18"x13" rimmed sheet pan
- Pastry brush
- 1 pound shelled unsalted pistachios
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 1 pound box of phyllo sheets, aka fillo
- 8 ounces ghee, melted, or clarified butter
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- ¾ 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!
- 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.
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