What is baklava?
Baklava is a Turkish dessert that is made from layered phyllo dough, chopped nuts, and covered with sugar water that binds the dough together and transforms the dough into a sweet dessert.
What kind of nuts should I use?
In Turkey, the nuts used for baklava vary from region to region. If you are in the south, pistachios are very popular and give that baklava that interesting bright green contrast. Pistachios are a great option for baklava but can be a bit pricey depending on your budget. Walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts also make great options for layering in between. You could even experiment with a combination of both. Mix them together or split into sections to compare what you like best. The world is your oyster.
You can also choose how fine your chop the nuts too. I prefer mine to be slightly coarser for more texture. Just continue to chop until you reach your desired consistency.
Is baklava Greek or Turkish?
There is heavy debate between Greece and Turkey on who was the originator of baklava. Well, if you look at a map, you’ll find that both countries share a border and are located in the same Aegean Sea. Like other countries with deep historical ties, this will always be up for debate depending on who you ask!
Although the basis of the baklava recipe is the same, there are a few distinct differences you’ll find if you are making the Greek version or Turkish Baklava. That main difference is the sweetened glaze that is poured over the hot phyllo dough. In Turkey, that syrup is usually made up of sugar, water, and lemon juice. On the other hand, the Greek version likes to use honey with the addition of cinnamon.
Crunchy vs. soggy Baklava
Ever had baklava at the store and it’s been a real sticky mess? Well, what if I told you there was a workaround on that!
- First you could adjust how much syrup you are pouring over the baklava.
- If you eat baklava the day of, it will be nice and crispy on the top layer. If you save it for the second day it will still have a teeny bit of crunch, but not soggy.
My baklava is not super sticky, which I prefer because you still get the sweetness of a dessert combined with a crunch.
TIP: Leave the baklava uncovered on a plate or tupperware as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up. I know this seems counterintuitive, but it does.
Can you freeze Baklava?
So you made this dessert and now you have a whole entire tray of it that you don’t want to continuously keep eating. Good news is baklava freezes really well for when you are craving a sweet treat.
Split the baklava into 4-5 piece sections and tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Put them in the back of your freezer for up to 3 months.
Other recipes you might like:
- 1 pound phyllo dough defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
- 3 + 1/3 cups shelled pistachios finely chopped, divided
- 1 unsalted butter melted
- 1 cups of sugar
- 1 cups of water
- Juice of ½ large lemon
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Finely chop the pistachios and dry roast them in a pan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Unroll phyllo dough and cut it to fit your baking sheet.
- Brush the baking sheet with melted butter, then place one sheet of phyllo dough on the pan and brush with butter.
- Repeat with 5 more sheets of phyllo dough and butter. Layer about one cup of pistachios on top of the phyllo dough and spread out so it’s nice and even. Layer 5 more sheets of phlyllo and brush with melted butter. Repeat this two more times.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava by cutting the long way into four even sections. Rotate the pan. Starting from the corner, begin to cut the baklava diagonally until you reach the other side. Continue to cut diagonally, using this line as a guide. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50 minutes until golden brown.
- In a saucepan, add sugar and water over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Whisk in lemon juice and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat then let cool.
- When the baklava is done baking, remove from the oven and immediately pour the syrup over the baklava.
Have any baklava tips or tricks? Let me know in the comments below!