19 May 2011

Homemade Baklava



I've been looking forward to this day for a long time. Not only is it my chance to share my most favorite recipe with you, it's a time to celebrate my all-time favorite dessert! Baklava has been around for ages and making it is an art of labor and love. 

The first time I ever made this I was hosting international students in my home for a movie night. I had many friends from the Middle East coming and I was nervous to hear their judgements. They loved the recipe and argued for a good thirty minutes over which of them could claim its history! My Turkish friend was confident that Turks owned its past. My Persian friend spoke loudly and emphatically that "Perrrrrsians" had developed the tasty treat. Before I knew it my house was an all out war zone of Saudis, Turks, Persians, and Libyans fighting for rights. See? Everyone wants a piece of this action!

Anyways, having had it tested and approved by "the real deal" I'm confident you'll love it.


Simple syrup

I've adapted this recipe from DedeMed's Kitchen. You will need the following ingredients:

2 cups water

2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup honey
1 (16 oz) pkg. phyllo dough
1 lb. chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
1 cup butter (melted)
1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon

To begin place the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over med-high heat until the sugar is melted. Add the vanilla and honey and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Then let cool on the stove top.

*While you are cooking the syrup set out the frozen phyllo dough to let it warm up enough for unrolling.




Next, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 13x9 pan. Place two sheets of phyllo dough in the bottom of the pan and brush on the melted butter lightly with a pastry brush. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. (Be sure to cover the unused dough with a damp cloth to keep it from drying out.) Working with the dough can be frustrating, but even if it tears and breaks it will still taste the same!




Sprinkle the 8 sheets with a small handfull of the chopped nuts that have been tossed with cinnamon. Top with two sheets of phyllo dough and brush with butter. Continue layering nuts, 2 sheets, butter leaving 6-8 sheets for the top layer as you did the very bottom (just layering 2 sheets with melted butter).




Once you've finished layering, cut the baklava into the shapes you desire before baking. I like to do the little triangles, but simple squares work fine to. Bake for 50 minutes, until golden and crisp.




Once the baklava is done baking, pour the syrup over each piece with a spoon while it is still hot. Even though it looks like too much syrup, be sure to use it all. It will make for a sweet, mouth-watering ethnic dessert! 

Let it cool, and be sure to lightly cover it with a cloth. Covering with plastic wrap or foil will make the baklava soggy.

Now play a little Nancy Ajram and enjoy the fruits of your labor! :)



32 comments:

  1. I have always wanted to make baklava but thought it was too labour-intensive. You make it look easy - tempted to give this a go as it looks so delicious... although I am a reluctant temperamental baker!

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  2. yum! My aunt always makes this for holidays.

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  3. my mom in law makes that at christmas - it is SO GOOD

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  4. Oh! My stomach just lurched for the screen! Pinning!

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  5. Oh gosh. MUST. EAT. NOW! Hannah, seriously, why???

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  6. NOOOOOOOO!! Don't show me how this is made or I'll be hooked forever. I eat this stuff like candy when it's around...last thing I need is to know how to make it!!! :-) But my goodness does it look delicious!

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  7. I can taste the flavor and the crisp layers now. Let me know when you'll be mailing them to Dallas!

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  8. Hahaha, although I love its tastes it's one dessert I just don't like. Does that make sense?! It so contradicts itself, but it's true, haha! We get it all the time when I visit family and I'm no fan. I prefer the one with pistachios if I ever get it. And to make it taste less sweet/sugery we add cream to it, on the side. Though I prefer to pour just a little milk on top. ;) Hehe.

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  9. Oh, heavens. Hannah this looks amazing! I especially like how you call the making of baklava "a labor of love". Like Meghan, I always assumed baklava was way too labor intensive for me to attempt, but I am SO trying this this weekend!

    Thanks for gifting your readers with this recipe!

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  10. Meghan- It really isn't that intense. All in all it will take about an hour, and sometimes the dough can be frustrating...but it's not as hard as some other desserts or meals I have tried to make. I promise. :)

    Tony- It better be. Only the best desserts go straight to your thighs. :)

    Kayla- Because I love you too much to let you live a life without it.

    Abby and Krystal- You have the best family EVER.

    Selma- I like the pistachio kind, too. They are just so darn expensive in my area!

    Amy- Oh believe me! It is so worth the effort! Bring it to a party and the you'll be beaming from all the compliments. :)

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  11. So much sugar!! I LOVE IT! yum,yum,yum

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  12. i'm vowing to make this ONLY if i'm having friends over, lest i eat the whole pan :-)

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  13. That looks delicious! I wish I could cook and bake:) It's on my list, but I think I'll try to master some basic sewing as long as long others are willing to feed me;) I can't wait to see more! xx

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  14. This has got to be one of my all time favorite desserts!!! And why do I need to make it, when you can just send me a piece of it to me at...
    Looks great girl!

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  15. That looks sooo good. I love baklava especially with lots of pistachios.

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  16. i LOVE baklava, i wanna make this now! p.s. the answers to the questions you asked are in my FAQ section on my sidebar :) xxx Sienna

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  17. Who cares if it's fattening! It looks absolutely delicious!

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  18. O M G, I am making this as soon as I have some free time. Amazing. my mouth is watering!
    xo, Alexandra

    http://moneuphorie.blogspot.com/

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  19. Looks so delicious. I love all the layers! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  20. 've nev er tried Baklava, but it looks soooo good. Thanks for sharing, I'll need to try! : D

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  21. I LOVE baklava, but have never tried to make it myself. I just might have to!

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  22. I don't actually like Baklava but I totally just salivated!
    <3

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  23. this is AMAZING! i never ever even thought about doing it homemade. i try to go with my former roomie KC to the erie greek festival every year and we always get a bunch of delicious treats to eat. YUM YUM O!

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  24. Ooooh man, baklava is my favorite!!! I always thought it looked difficult to make, but this recipe doesn't seem so hard.

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  25. Remember how I said I loved my roommates? If you keep cooking like this, you're going to get a suprise roommate. I'm just going to show up at your door and eat to my hearts content.

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  26. Oh wow. I love anything made with phyllo dough (sweet or savory) and am amazed with anyone who has the patience to work with the delicate layers.

    I'm surprised no one argued its Greek origins! Erie's Greek Festival (as Amy said above) is a great place to get some - and also they make decadent baklava sundaes. Crazy, right?!

    I've also had many forms of baklava at Middle Eastern restaurants made with pistachios - quite good.

    Kudos!

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  27. Oh my!!! I am still on my Turkish food kick, so I am going to need to bookmark this!

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  28. Hannah, I had a piece of this that you sent to the team and it was probably the best I have ever eaten. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I can't wait to try it for my kids coming home this summer!

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  29. I adooore my granmma Baklawa, she made the best ones ever!

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