Monday, July 21, 2014

How to make Baklava like a pro!

Before you learn how to make baklava like a pro, you will need to keep 3 things in mind:

  • Do not start making baklava at 7:30 pm on a weeknight
  • If you do start at 7:30pm, do not then run to the store to buy a pastry brush because you just realized you don't have one
  • Do not start making baklava at 8:30 pm on a weeknight

My workplace recently hosted Cuppa for a Cause to benefit Alzheimers New Zealand, and I decided to bring homemade baklava.

And so my old love story with Baklava was rekindled.


Okay let's get right to it!

First thing you need to do is to get all your tools and ingredients together because you DO NOT want to run to the store to buy a pastry brush when the butter is melting.

Things you need

A large rectangular baking tray
A small sauce pan (to melt the butter) and another to make the syrup in
A pastry brush (!)
A good sharp knife, preferably a chef's knife
A large chopping board 


1 package, Phyllo Pastry (A.K.A Filo Pastry), thawed
1 LB (450 g) raw, Walnuts 
2 sticks (200g), Butter
1.5 Cups, Sugar
1.5 Cups Water
2 Tablespoons Orange blossom water (this is optional, but so good!)


  • Start by melting the butter in a small saucepan, on medium to low heat. Take care to not burn the butter.
  • Crush the walnuts in a food processor. You don't have to crush them down to a complete powder.

Assemble it!

While the butter is melting, lay the filo out on the cutting board. If your filo fits your pan perfectly, you should go out and get yourself a lotto ticket. If not, then measure out the dimensions of the baking tray you're using and cut off the extra bits. 

Keep the filo covered with a slightly damp towel (not wet, just damp) while you assemble the baklava.

Coat the baking tray lightly with a bit of the melted butter and gently lay down the first sheet of filo, smoothing out as you go. Brush some butter on the filo, just a nice thin layer, and layer on the next sheet of filo. Layer about 8 sheets of filo, brushing butter in between each layer. 

Now, sprinkle about a quarter of the crushed walnuts on top of the filo in an even-ish layer.

Layer 4 more sheets of filo, again brushing each layer with butter.

Add another layer of walnuts followed by 4 sheets of filo. Continue this for two more layers until you have finished all the walnuts and layer the final set of buttery filo, about 4-6 sheets.

Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava into pieces, squares or diamonds, I find cutting squares a lot easier.

Cook it!

  • Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (or about 350 F)
  • Bake the baklava for about 35 to 40 minutes, till it is nice and golden and has puffed up.
  • Cool the baklava on a cooling rack for a couple of hours.

Make the syrup!

  • Combine the sugar, water and orange blossom water and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes till the syrup thicken a little bit (not too much, just a little).
(This stuff is heaven in a bottle, go get some)

  • Pour the syrup over the baklava. 
  • Repeat after me. Hot syrup over the cold baklava. 
  • Cool the baklava for a couple of hours (again!) 

The baklava will keep at room temperature for a couple of days. It usually doesn't last that long.


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