Here’s an easy and authentic recipe to make the Greeks’ all-time favorite dessert, baklava.
Baklava is likely one of the most famous, yet controversial, Greek desserts. The delicious sweet is made from crispy layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts, usually pistachios, and sweetened with honey or syrup.
There is a persistent debate as to the origins of the sweet, however. Many ethnic groups such as the Greeks, Turks, and Middle Easterners all claim baklava as their own, and prepare it in their own way.
One version of the story claims that baklava has origins in the mighty Assyrians, who had been preparing it as early as the 8th century B.C. by layering unleavened flat bread with chopped nuts in between, drenching it in honey and then baking it in primitive wood-burning ovens.
Our modern day baklava went through a number of transitions as the history of the area continued to change over the millennia.
Whether in the Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean, Balkans, or Caucasia, the Turks, Arabs, Jews, Greeks, Armenians, and Bulgarians of today who view baklava as their national dessert were all part of the Ottoman Empire at one time.
Recipe for baklava
- PHYLLO DOUGH 16oz / 450gr
- BUTTER 14oz / 400gr
- GROUND CINNAMON 1tbsp
- GROUND CLOVES 1tsp
- WALNUTS 10oz / 300gr
- ALMONDS 4oz / 100gr
For the syrup:
- SUGAR 21 oz / 600gr
- WATER 16 fl oz / 450ml
- CORN SYRUP OR HONEY 2oz / 50gr
- CINNAMON STICK 2 pieces
- CLOVES 5 pieces
- ORANGE 1
For the syrup:
- To make the syrup, place a pot over high heat and add the sugar, water, corn syrup or honey, the cinnamon stick, the cloves, and the orange.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and stir. As soon as the sugar melts, remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
For the filling:
- Beat the walnuts and almonds in a food processor until they break up. Place them in a bowl and mix them with cinnamon and ground clove.
- Grease a 35×25 cm baking pan with butter.
- Place 3 pieces phyllo dough on the bottom to make the base.
- Drizzle the phyllo with butter. Do not brush butter directly onto it.
- Sprinkle about a handful of the filling over them.
- Spread the fourth sheet of phyllo dough directly in to the pan, just like the previous one, making sure it is covering the filling.
- Drizzle with butter.
- Sprinkle another handful of filling over it.
- Repeat the process, with the phyllo, butter, and filling but save out 3 sheets of phyllo dough.
- Add 2 of the 3 remaining sheets and spread the final sheet nicely over the top, covering the whole pan.
- Pour the rest of the butter on top of the baklava.
- Place the pan in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Take the baklava out of the fridge and cut it into the desired shapes.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 160* C (320* F) for 2 ½ hours.
- When the baklava is ready, remove from oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup over it. Set it aside to soak up all of the syrup and cool.