Bakla-What?!

Baklava (Bok-la-va) is a very popular Greek dessert, and I’m so in love with it!

So, what is it?

Baklava is deliciously rich and gooey – loaded with sweet honey and nuts nestled between layers of crispy pastry dough called Phyllo. It’s a bite-sized, flakey dessert that leaves your fingers an absolute mess. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?Packaged Cretan Baklava

You can find this delectable dessert in every small Cretan coffee shop, along with many other types of Greek desserts, Cretan Tiropita’s (cheese pies) and Spanakopita’s (spinach pies).

Baklava

 Baklava has a variety of fillings including walnuts, almonds, poppy seeds, ground sesame, honey, syrup and sugar. The Greeks use a walnut filling with tons of honey while the Turks use pistachios with a lot of butter. The Lebanese like a much drier version with sugar or simple syrup with rose-water, and a combo of pistachios and walnuts.

Crushing Walnuts for Baklava

 Where did it come from?

It’s hard to say exactly where Baklava originated. It has been traced to Turkey; however, it’s a very popular dessert all over the Middle-East and Near-East. It’s considered an Ottoman dessert, with old reports stating that it was consumed during ceremonies, banquets and in the mansion houses during the Ottoman Empire. It was known to be made for wealthy people, since such a simple pastry needed a lot of skill to make.

Crushed Walnuts for Baklava

Baklava can now be found all over the world, including your own kitchen! And with modern baking technology, tools and this post – it’s super easy to make!

Print, bake and engulf my Traditional Greek Baklava recipe (found at the bottom of this post).

But before you do!

Finish reading for some worthwhile tips…

phyllo instructions

… and don’t do what I did; by starting to prep your mixture and coat the pan with butter, only to find out you need to defrost the phyllo dough for two hours before use! (slap in the face)

baking baklava

 

  • Defrost your phyllo dough for two hours (or as instructed on the package).
  • You don’t have to follow the “mixture” measurements perfectly, a little off and you’re A-Okay.
  • By all means, you want pistachios or almonds instead? Go for it!
  • Once the phyllo is defrosted, remove it from the package and check the length. I had to cut my large rectangle piece into two squares and overlap the layers a little.
  • Don’t worry, if the dough tears a little it’s perfectly fine. Just keep layering the sheets (with sprinkled butter in between)
  • You can use the “more honey/less sugar” ratio if you would like. I accidentally didn’t have enough sugar, so I opted for a little more honey and it came out just fine.
  • Vegan? Try all sugar (and veggie margarine) and let me know how it comes out!

cutting the baklava

Make sure you put the baklava in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before cutting it. It’s tough to cut through if it’s not cold, and all your layers could get smooshed together because the dough is so thin!

mixing ingredients for baklava

Did you devour your Baklava right out of the oven? I pretty much did!

Let me know what you think of this delicious treat in the comments below!

pour over baklava

Want another Greek recipe?! Learn how to make delicious, nutritious Stuffed Grape Leaves! Still can’t get enough? Join the inner circle at It’s all in the Olive for not-on-the-blog recipes and more!

gooey baklava

Mmmmmmm……..

mmm baklava

Traditional Greek Baklava

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: aprox. 4-6 healthy cravings

Ingredients

    You will need a large 15x11 inch baking dish
    For the Baklava:
  • 30 sheets of phyllo dough
  • 17 oz. walnuts - chopped (or a mix of walnuts, pistachios and almonds)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp. ground clove
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 10 oz. butter - melted
  • optional: fresh berries for garnish
    For the Syrup:
  • 23 oz. sugar
  • 14 oz. water
  • 2.8 oz. honey
  • 1 lemon or orange - zested
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Prepare Dough: Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, being careful not to burn it. Using a cooking brush, coat the bottom and sides of a baking dish with butter. Begin by layering the sheets of phyllo dough on the bottom of the baking dish to form the base of the baklava. Layer the sheets one at a time making sure to sprinkle each one with melted butter. Use half of your phyllo dough sheets. (The other half will cover the top of the mixture)
  3. Filling: In a large bowl, mix the chopped nuts, sugar, cinnamon and ground clove together. Sprinkle mixture over the phyllo dough base. Top the mixture with the rest of the phyllo sheets, sprinkling each one with melted butter. Once complete, brush the top of the baklava with butter.
  4. Place baklava in the fridge for 15 minutes in order to make it easier to cut. Once removed, cut the pastry into small pieces.
  5. Bake: Place the baklava in a preheated oven on the lower rack and bake for about 1 hour 30 minutes, until all the phyllo layers are crisp and golden.
  6. Syrup: Into a small pot, mix all the ingredients for the syrup to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved. As soon as the baklava is ready, ladle the hot syrup very slowly over the hot baklava, making sure it gets absorbed into the layers.
  7. Let the baklava cool down completely and serve after most of the syrup has absorbed. Add your garnish and enjoy!
http://www.pureorganicworld.com/baklawhat/