So I am Greek on both sides of my family. We have a few greek recipes that we like to make, but not many. My grandma had a Baklava recipe. This one is based on that. Everyone kept telling me how difficult it can be to work with the Phyllo dough, but it was not as bad as everyone made it seem. If you are interested in trying to make baklava then I say go for it! Just be prepared and have everything ready before you start. It smells so delicious when you are making it. The cloves in the syrup alone will make your whole house smell good!
I have wanted to make this for some time… basically ever since I went to London and had Turkish Baklava. The main difference between the two is that Greek Baklava has walnuts and honey, while Turkish has Pistachios. I like both, but since I am Greek, I stuck with walnuts. I ended up liking this baklava better than any I have bought at a super market. I have found that those are way stickier and sweeter. I prefer mine less sticky.
- 1 Lb. (4 Sticks) Unsalted Butter
- 1 Package (18 sheets) Phyllo Dough
- 1 1/4 Lbs. Chopped Walnuts or Pistachios
- 1 1/2 Cups honey
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 4 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Cloves
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1.In a large sauce pan, stir together the ingredients for the syrup and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. This part can take a while so you will want to do this before you even open the Phylo dough.
2. Pour the about 2/3 of the syrup over the walnuts in a large bowl. You can just guess this amount. You basically just want the nuts to be evenly coated.
3. Preheat your oven to 325 Degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan. Place the butter in a large bowl, cover with parchment paper and microwave until melted. You can either melt it all at the beginning or melt it as you go. I had to re-melt my butter again later on throughout the process since it got hard to brush. Traditionally, baklava has 33 layers if it is considered greek baklava. I happen to be greek, so my goal was to make 33 layers.
4. Lay one sheet of the Phyllo dough down. I found that I could cut each sheet in half to fit the size of the pan. Brush with the melted butter and then place another layer on top. Repeat until you have 8 layers.
5. Spread an even layer of walnuts over the Phyllo dough layers and press down so that the layer is flat. Lay a piece of Phyllo dough over the top and brush with butter. Repeat until you have added 8 more layers.
6. Add another layer of walnuts and then place a piece of Phyllo dough over the top and brush with butter. Repeat until you have added 8 more layers.
7. Add the remaining chopped walnuts in this final walnut layer. Spread evenly across the baklava and then add the last 9 Phyllo layers, brushing with butter between each.
8. Pour the leftover syrup on top of the baklava and spread it around so it looks even.
9. Bake in the oven at 325 for about an hour. Check it occasionally. The layers will be golden brown when it is done. I cut a strip in mine at about 45 minutes in so that I could see if the inside was done as well.
10. Let cool for 10 minutes. It will be hot. Cut into squares or triangles and remove from the pan. Store in an air tight container. Using parchment paper between the pieces helps so that the pieces are easy to grab and don’t stick together.