My mom used to love baklavas and would make it with almonds and cinnamon. This is based on her recipe, although I tweaked her recipe a lot and added nutmeg, and substituted the almonds with pecans and walnuts.   I learnt about pecans recently and have been using them often since then and they have become a killer combination in the flaky, sticky pastry.  In Cyprus we have a lot of almonds, so it was usually (but not always) made with the local production.  Later on pistachios were imported from Aleppo, Syria, known to antiquity as Khalpe, Khalibon and in Cyprus these nuts are called Halepiana and sometimes it was also made with pistachios.

Baklavas roll

Although I love baklavas I rarely make it, as I avoid using butter, even for breakfast.The only other desserts with butter are kourabiedes and Galaktomboureko, and these as well I make only once a year and that’s why it took me such a long time to post about baklavas.    I avoid them, especially galaktomboureko, which is my favourite, and as I can eat the whole tin for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If I do, I make a healthier version using olive oil, which is equally tasty and healthier. However, in order to record this recipe, I made it with butter.


 

My son was nugging that I haven’t made it for a very long time and when I saw two events in the blogosphere, I decided to make it, just for the purpose of recording this lovely recipe.The quantity was huge but every Tuesday we have our Tupperware meetings, so half of the tin was consumed there.The only change that I made was to change the nuts.  I used 2/3 pecans and because they are quite expensive 1/3 walnuts.  Although my mum used to make it only with Almonds and cinnamon, I made it with pecans and walnuts and added some nutmeg in the filling as well.It was perfect and I am not saying this from what my family said but from what I heard from my Tupperware friends and I was really pleased to see them taking a second piece.Wherever I have eaten baklava, I find that they use too much syrup and too much butter, which is not the case here.

I am not going to explain how we can prove that Baklavas is Greek and not Turkish but, if you like, you may read this article from the Food History. Wikipedia, in my opinion, is not a reliable source (although I refer to it often, as I do not find other sources to refer to) as anyone can go and write whatever they want and there is a lot of paid propaganda going on. See Turkish coffee, Turkish delights, moussakas, Turkish baths etc. It seems that the country which had hot tubs more than 3000 years ago, see Knossos, and has spread its civilization throughout the world, used to feed on raw meat and the Nomads would feed on gastronomical food.

You may also see the Ancient Version of Baklavas, called Gastrin here.

Baklavas

Preparation time: 1/2 hour
Baking time: 1 hour and five minute

Yields: 32 pieces

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of thin phyllo dough (500 grams)
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 175 grams of roasted pecans
  • 175 grams of roasted walnuts
  • 250 grams clarified butter

For the syrup:

  • ½ cup of thyme honey
  • ¾cup of sugar
  • 11/2 cups of water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 cloves
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Combine sugar, honey, water, cinnamon stick, and cloves in a saucepan and bring to a boil.Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.Add lemon juice, stir and set aside.
  2. Clarify the butter.  To do this, heat the butter in a small pan over low heat until it melts.  The butter separates in three parts.  Shim off foam with a spoon.  The milk solids will remain at the bottom of the pan.  Strain the butter using a coffee filter and the milk solids will be removed.  What remains is clarified butter.
  3. Begin with pastry but as soon as baklava is in the oven make the syrup, so until it is baked it will still remain lukewarm.
  4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Centigrade and grease a baking tin 33 x 40 cm.
  5. Combine nuts, spices and sugar.
  6. Layer 3 sheets of phyllo pastry in the baking tin, brushing in between each layer with butter.
  7. Sprinkle with the nut mixture and repeat until you add all the phyllo and all the nuts, each time brushing phyllo with butter.
  8. Top with the remaining phyllo sheets, brushing each phyllo with butter but do not butter the last one.
  9. With a very sharp knife cut pastry but not all the way through beginning with a cross, making 4 squares.Each square, cut diagonally making an X and again cut into a cross shape. In each quarter you will get 8 pieces.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes, lower heat at150 degrees and bake for 20 more minutes.
  11. When baklava is golden brown, remove from the oven and pour syrup spoon by spoon making sure that it has penetrated through all pieces. Allow to stand at room temperature until completely cooled and then cut it all the way through.

Do not store baklava in the refrigerator as the phyllo will loose its crunchiness and will become soggy.It’s better to leave it in the baking tin, if it’s stainless steel or remove to another vessel and cover with a napkin.

I am submitting this recipe to Aparna, of My Diverse Kitchen, who is hosting the event Think Spice, Think Nutmeg, in Greek Moschokarydo, which means the nut which smells wonderful, originally created by Sunita, of Sunita’s World.

The chocolate baklava in the picture has been made using different ingredients and is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Χωρίς σχόλια on Baklavas

  1. Ο/Η Cakelaw λέει:

    Phwoar – Ivy, this loooks delicious!! I am also glad that you used packet phyllo, ’cause making phyllo scares the bejesus out of me (though I tackle it in a pastry class next weekend – yikes!).

  2. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Cake, I make phyllo for pies but for baklavas it is extremely difficult to make a phyllo this thin. I envy you going to pastry classes.

  3. Ο/Η Bellini Valli λέει:

    I love baklava but rarely make it myself either. I am trying to avoid sweets altogether, but perhaps I am not doing all that well considering my last post:D

  4. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Have you been eating all the pastelli Val?

  5. Ο/Η Mary λέει:

    Your baklava looks delicious! I’m always stunned by the variety of baklava there is in the world. A couple years ago a woman I worked with would make me baklava. But she was from Lebanon and I’m sure it was different than yours.

  6. Ο/Η Swati: Sugarcraft India λέει:

    Gos Ivy!! You make me crave for this now..I did have a slice for this in the flight to Athens and I had loved it..I can smell all the lovely flavors that you have put in and it smells awesome!!
    Hey, I was just uploading pics for my new post when I got your comment.. Do have a look!!!

  7. Ο/Η Peter G λέει:

    Mmmmm…delicious…I always thought it was more difficult. You make it look really easy…and I too use bought filo..its so easy!…(LOL @ Val’s comment!)

  8. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Thanks Mary. I have tried Lebanese baklava and it does taste different, maybe it’s the butter they use which gives it a different taste.

  9. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Swati your new creations are beautiful.

  10. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Peter, it’s definitely much easier than galaktomboureko and of course bought phyllo is perfect.

  11. Ο/Η Lore λέει:

    Guess I was misinformed as I also thought the baklava is Turkish.
    Yours looks delish and was surely worth the hard work. I’d grab a second piece too :D

  12. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Lore, it’s easier than it looks.

  13. Ο/Η a kelly λέει:

    Looks delicious!
    I enjoy all your posts and pictures so much.
    I’ve tasted the Lebanese baklava from a local bakery. They use different nuts like cashew and pistachio which makes the taste very different. And it is dry. No syrup.
    I miss my mother’s baklava but I don’t miss the work that went into making the phyllo. what a production that was. If it wasn’t for the premade, I would never attempt this!

  14. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Hi Alexandra. Nice you see you again. You are right. Lebanese use more pistachios. However, the ones I tried had too much syrup.

  15. Ο/Η [eatingclub] vancouver || js λέει:

    I love baklava. I don’t have it often because I can’t find good ones around here. Well, that’s not exactly true: I haven’t tried looking for good ones, because, well, you know, baklavas are dangerous. ;)

    Yours look fantastic and I’m trying not to remember how to make them. ;)

  16. Ο/Η Lulu Barbarian λέει:

    Ha! We barbarians know who brought us civilization, and it wasn’t the Turks!

  17. Ο/Η Nikki Miller-Ka λέει:

    I’ve been trying to make perfect baklava for a few months now, using roasted soy nuts, because I’m allergic to all nuts. Nothing has been fruitful. Edible, but not great. I will try your mom’s recipe! Thank you!

  18. Ο/Η giz λέει:

    Your mother’s recipe is beautiful and your reproduction of it is gorgeous too. I love love love baklava. I can’t make it at home because I lose all will power. Even when I go to Greektown for dinner – I can smell it in the air and my knees shake.

  19. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Nikki, sorry to hear about your allergy. Instead of soy nuts how about if you made a filling with dried fruit: dates, apricots, figs, raisins and why not coconut, which by the way goes well with syrup.

  20. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Oops missed your comment Lulu. I am frustrated with the indifference of the various governments who do nothing to protect our history.

  21. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Giz, you are right, I cannot resist either and that’s why I don’t make it often.

  22. Ο/Η Lisa λέει:

    One of these days, when I am feeling like a decadent treat, I’m going to make this. Just lovely Ivy.

  23. Ο/Η White On Rice Couple λέει:

    All those delicious layers are dreamy! I just phyllo dough and need to get more to try to make this!

  24. Ο/Η Aparna λέει:

    Thank you for yet another wonderful entry, Ivy.
    This looks so good. Have tasted this but I don’t get phyllo dough here.:(
    I’ll have to find a substitute.

  25. Ο/Η Núria λέει:

    What a delicious dish, Ivy!!! I could eat a whole tray of baklava :D, nuts are so tasty and the result looks wonderful :D MMmmmmm, please hand me a plateeeeeee

  26. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Diane thanks and good luck. It’s easy to make.

    Aparna, I am not sure if you can find a substitute but if you can roll out dough, I can give you the recipe.

    Nuria, thanks. I wish I could send you some.

  27. Ο/Η Sharon λέει:

    Oh, I have been crying since moving to Anchorage from Fairbanks. Both cities are in the State of Alaska, USA.
    There was a very small restaurant in Fairbanks named Suvlaki that made the most wonderful Greek food. Unfortunately the owner decided that running a restaurant was something she didn’t want to do at her age, so it has been closed.

    Do you have a souvlaki recipe where the meat is thinly sliced and cooked, then placed in the wonderful pita like bread with thin slices of tomatoes and lots of onions and spices. Um, good. Everything I have found here is chunked, tough, meat and not as well flavored. The restaurants I have tried here just don’t do it good, and their baklava is way too sweet. Thank you for your wonderful recipes, and I am on the way to the grocery store to stock up on supplies so I can bake during the weekend.

  28. Ο/Η Ivy
    Twitter:
    λέει:

    I do have a souvlaki recipe in my blog. However, what you are describing is called Gyros. However, I do not have an actual recipe for gyros as it is not easy to make at home. I have a pseudo-gyros recipe which you can easily make. You can do it with leftover roasted lamb or pork or even chicken, pita bread, some tzatziki (Greek garlic-yogurt sauce), some chopped onion and a dash of dried Greek oregano. Feel free to add or subtract ingredients like tomatoes, mustard and fried potatoes, depending on your tastes.

  29. Ο/Η Samousades λέει:

    [...] (in other parts of Greece they are also called samsades). Samousades is the Spartan version of baklavas and is made in a similar way we make “daktyla” in Cyprus, the only difference is that they are [...]

  30. [...] easier to make galaktomboureko because you can buy ready made phyllo.  Each phyllo is brushed with clarified butter and in the middle a semolina pudding flavoured with lemon is added.  The remaining phyllos are [...]

  31. [...] it with spaghetti and used Greek cheeses.  I would have normally used olive oil but I had leftover clarified butter which I used but did add some olive oil as well.  If you use butter, you don’t have to [...]

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