baklava

Baklava

Baklava

I love living in a big city. I love the sites and sounds, the hustle and bustle, but most of all, I love the food. I love not knowing what you’re eating for dinner on a Sunday night and ending up in a random restaurant chowing down on a mediterranean buffet. It was in this restaurant that I had my very first baklava and the inspiration for this week’s bake. The tasty flaky treat was one of the best things I have ever eaten, or so I thought. The following week we found ourselves in another greek restaurant and I had another baklava that was even better. Every single element of that pastry from the crispy layers to the gooey honey sauce was amazing. I was in awe of this dessert and determined to learn how to make baklava at home. After several hours of research, a few videos and some history lessons the recipe below was born.

If the thought of making baklava seems a little daunting keep reading for my tips, tricks and don’ts that I did and you’ll see why it’s much easier than it looks.

Ingredients for Honey Sauce

1 cup of water

1 cup of sugar

1 and 1/2 cups of honey

1 tablespoon of orange extract

2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of ground cloves

Directions for Honey Sauce

Add water and sugar to medium sized pot and bring to a boil.

Stir until sugar has completely dissolved.

Turn heat down to medium and add honey slowly while stirring.

Add orange extract and ground cloves.

Continue to simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and let cool.

Ingredients for Nut Mixture

6 ounces of finely chopped walnuts

6 ounces of finely chopped pistachios

6 ounces of finely chopped pecans

6 ounces of finely chopped hazelnuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon sugar

Directions for Baklava

1 package (16 ounces) of filo dough

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add chopped nuts, cinnamon and sugar to bowl, mix together and set aside.

Melt butter in microwave.

Using a pastry brush, brush the butter on to a 9×13 in baking dish.

Add one sheet of filo and brush dough with a thin layer of butter. Repeat this step until you have layered 10 sheets of filo.

Add 3/4 cup of the nut mixture to the pan of filo.

Add five sheets of filo to the pan buttering in between each layer of dough.

Repeat the two steps above 3 more times.

Add 10 sheets of filo, buttering in between each layer and butter the top.

Here’s a breakdown of the order for the Baklava

  • 10 buttered sheets of filo, 3/4 cup nut mixture
  • 5 buttered sheets of filo, 3/4 cup nut mixture
  • 5 buttered sheets of filo, 3/4 cup nut mixture
  • 5 buttered sheets of filo, 3/4 cup nut mixture
  • 5 buttered sheets of filo, 3/4 cup nut mixture
  • 10 buttered sheets of filo, butter top of pastry

Using a sharp knife, cut pastry into squares and then the squares into triangles.

Bake baklava for 50 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on top.

Remove from oven and immediately pour the sauce over the entire pan.

Sprinkle remaining nut mixture over the top of the baklava.

Let sit and cool for a few hours before serving.

Delicious Easy Baklava

Tips and Tricks and a few Dont’s that I did

I mentioned before that this recipe is pretty easy, but it is a little more time consuming than other bakes. Don’t let that discourage you, it’s just building the layers that takes some time. It gets easier and faster each time you make it.

Make your honey sauce before you start building your baklava, giving it enough time to cool before adding it to the bake.

Filo dough is very very fragile. I recommend covering the dough with damp paper towels in between uses. Don’t worry if some of the filo tears during layering. You won’t be able to see it when the bake is complete.

Keep your butter hot. I melted mine in a microwavable safe bowl, boiled some water and sat the bowl in the hot water while I put together my baklava.

To avoid a soggy bottom, be sure to only brush a thin layer of butter to each filo layer.

Feel free to play with flavors with the sauce. I wanted a little more spice to my sauce for a traditional taste, but you can omit the cloves or add more if you like.

Speaking of flavors. I read several articles that said pistachios and walnuts are traditionally used in this dessert, but I also read a few that said hazelnuts and pecans are typically used. I love all of them so decided to use them all. Use whichever nuts you like, just make sure it’s at least 24 ounces finely chopped.

The nuts need to be chopped pretty small for this bake. Invest in a chopper or buy your nuts already chopped. Chopping them by hand would take forever. I have an immersion blender that has a chopping attachment (I’ve had this for years and this is the first time I used the attachment or even knew what it was for). I’ve included a link below to the one I have. Definitely worth the investment. https://www.amazon.com/Immersion-Utalent-BPA-Free-Container-Smoothies/dp/B07LFY1L31/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=153PLSNP0AIMV&keywords=immersion+blender&qid=1582042040&sprefix=immersion%2Caps%2C190&sr=8-1-

Don’t worry if your sauce is a little runny. It will thicken as it cools.

When cutting the pastry, try not to cut the bottom few layers. This will help hold the sauce and allow it to soak more into the pastry.

One of the best and most fun parts (besides the taste and saying the name) of making this dessert is the crackle of the baklava. When you hear the dessert crack while pouring the honey sauce over it you know you’ve made a perfect baklava!

This bake is best after it sits for at least 3 hours and even better the next day. This gives the pastry enough time to absorb the sauce and it gets that delicious sticky gooeyness you want in a baklava.

Baklava can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and enjoyed later, but it’s best served at room temperature within a few days.

I say this with every bake, but this one is a favorite and probably the tastiest. One of my Mae Bakes taste testers and a self proclaimed baklava connoisseur told me this was the best baklava he has ever eaten. Don’t forget to share this with all of the dessert connoisseurs in your world; it’s too good not to.

Enjoy!

Easy Baklava

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