It’s flaky, it’s crunchy, it’s nutty, and oh my goodness is it buttery…….
Yes you guys, I’m talking about baklava!!!! So the other day when I shared that recipe for jeweled rice I told you guys how we had a that little Persian inspired dinner over the weekend and how I went way overboard with the desserts, remember? Well, if not that’s totally fine but I’m going to keep on talking anyway as if you know exactly what I mean.
Among all the different types of desserts that I tested I made some baklava, because obviously no great Persian dinner should be without it. Before this I’d only made baklava one time and that one wasn’t even traditional, I totally switched things up (Here’s the recipe for that one if you’re interested. Not gonna lie, it’s a little bit amazing!) After trying it that first time though, I knew that I’d have to try the traditional version as soon as possible because I just fell in love with the way the phyllo dough transforms into those irresistible layers of goodness.
Oooh, I also tried apple baklava along with the traditional kind (in my typical indecisive-about-everything fashion). It was every bit as delicious, if not more, but I thought if I was going to share that one I’d save it for closer to the holidays and maybe share it then when apples are in season for you guys up north.
I keep saying “traditional” but, just like so many other classic and notorious foods, there are many countries/cities that claim to be the origin place of baklava, and each one of them has small recipe variations that are specific to their area. So when I say “traditional” I’m referring to the version made in and near Iran because I tried to keep it as close to that as I could.
Well, except for the rosewater because, like I also mentioned the other day, rosewater didn’t win any most popular flavor prizes with my gang the last time I used it. I sort of decided that I’d never use it again, at least not for a long, long, long time, so I left it out. If you are into it though and you want to make this recipe even more authentic, please feel free to add the rosewater. It’s really just a preference thing.
Regardless of where baklava actually comes from, I think we can all agree that it’s like the greatest idea anyone’s ever had, know what I’m sayin??? Can I get a “heck yes!”? If it happens that you’re grouped in with the poor unfortunate souls of the world who’ve never tasted baklava, then drop whatever you’re doing, that has to be fixed now! At the very least you need to add to the top of you’re bucket list. Basically, you have to experience it for yourself to understand what the hype is about and that’s why I’m telling you guys right now, you’ve really gotta make it. Come on, life is too short not to live a little!
- 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) melted butter
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pistachios
- 1 1/2 cups chopped almonds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 large orange
- 1 tablespoon rosewater (optional and I skipped it)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons reserved syrup
- 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
- 2 tablespoons chopped almonds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and grease a 9x13 inch pan very well.
- Mix the nuts, spices, and salt in a small bowl to combine and set aside.
- Divide the phyllo sheets into 4 parts (You'll probably have to cut them to fit into your pan but this will depend on the brand of phyllo you're using. Most brands should be the perfect fit when cut in half) Once you've sized your sheets and divided them, take one fourth of them and layer them one by one in the pan brushing each piece with a generous amount of butter in between each layer. Fold in any of the overhang from the sheets.
- Sprinkle about 1/3 of your nut/spice mixture as evenly as possible over first layer of phyllo.
- Repeat last 2 steps twice, layering another 1/4 of the phyllo sheets and brushing with butter between layers and then sprinkling nut mixture, until all the sheets have been added. Use a sharp knife to cut halfway through layers and cut into diamond shaped pieces (or squares if you prefer), but don't cut all the way through or the syrup will ooze down and make the bottom sticky when poured on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the top is nice and golden brown.
- While the baklava is baking make your syrup. Grate the orange peel using a vegetable grater to remove as much zest as possible from your orange, stopping at the white part, then slice and squeeze out the juice. Add juice and zest to a medium saucepan along with sugar, water, honey, salt, and (if using) rosewater. Bring mixture to a boil over medium low heat and boil for about 8 - 10 minutes until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. then set aside to cool
- Remove baklava from oven and cool for 3 to 4 minutes then pour your warm syrup evenly over top (reserving about 3 tablespoons) and allow it to cool completely, at least 45 minutes.
- While cooling, add the additional nuts to your reserved syrup and stir to coat. Spoon a little bit of mixture onto the center of each piece for garnish. Cut pieces apart and serve.