Does this dessert look familiar to you? This perfectly glazed, crunchy piece of heaven, is in fact, a piece of a Classic Greek Baklava. And it’s literally one of the most irresistible desserts ever! Especially if it’s properly made. There are mainly two things that can go wrong when making a Baklava.
The first is, to not be baked properly, leaving the phyllo chewy and whitish in color. And the second is, to do not add enough syrup, which leads to a very dry Baklava. No worries though, I have all the little tips and no-fail secrets you need, in order to avoid both circumstances. But also to avoid, any other situation that could possibly go wrong when making a Greek Baklava.
I have also included a step by step, picture tutorial to make it even easier. But first things first… Let’s make clear of:
What is Baklava and what it’s made of
Baklava is a crispy pastry dessert, made out of layers of Phyllo sheets, and a nut mix filling (usually almonds and walnuts). Traditionally it is scented with cinnamon and cloves, although orange zest may also be used as well. After it gets SLOWLY baked, a hot syrup made with honey is sprinkled on top. Giving baklava a caramelized, melt in your mouth texture.
If you are a true fan of Baklava, don’t miss this post with the TOP 5 BAKLAVA RECIPES.
Since I’m a Greek and it’s a dessert I’ve grown up eating, (I know, lucky me… ) I can tell how it’s supposed to be and look like. Baklava should be crispy, crunchy and completely soaked in syrup. You can easily achieve that if you follow the no-fail little secrets below. These are tips you learn after you have made a Baklava way too many times. Or learn them from people who themselves have made Baklava way too many times. So here they are…
Baklava’s N0-Fail Secrets
- Never exceed the 4 phyllo sheets at the top and bottom of the Baklava (or they won’t cook properly and will be hard to chew).
- Do not add more than 2 phyllo sheets in the middle layers (I think the point is taken).
- Let the phyllo sheets in the fridge overnight to unfreeze.
- Roll open the phyllo sheets gently on your working surface and cover with a kitchen towel so they won’t air-dry.
- Take one phyllo sheet at a time while covering the rest with a towel (they air-dry in seconds).
- Keep a cup filled with water next to you, to sprinkle very lightly each phyllo sheet when you add it to the pan, (in order to cook properly). A few drops here and there should do the trick.
- When brushing with butter, brush gently. Again here and there. You don’t need to Over-wet the phyllo.
- Baklava is baked at a low temperature for quite some time. Once it gets a golden brown color, cover with aluminum foil (so it won’t get any darker in color) and bake until super-super crispy.
- The syrup is made 10 minutes before Baklava comes out of the oven. So it will be hot when sprinkled on top (if both the syrup and the Baklava aren’t hot enough, the syrup won’t get absorbed properly).
- Baklava should reach room temperature before going into the fridge. This may take a few hours. Refrigerating a warm Baklava may lead to the syrup getting crystallized.
- When making syrup, make sure that all utensils are very clean. Nothing should get in touch with the syrup because it may get crystallized.
- Never stir a syrup after it starts to boil. Again it might crystallize. That’s why I added a small amount of lemon juice to the syrup so you won’t have to worry about it. I just mentioned the last 2 syrup making tips because I think they may come in handy in general ;).
I hope you feel ready now for some Baklava making. Personally, I avoid making it too often because it’s the only dessert I cannot resist (and I don’t even have that problem with chocolate which is pretty addicting).
The recipe gives a whole 11”x15”/ 26×36 cm baking pan of it, which is enough to add a smile to many people’s faces. Well, that would be about 16 of them.
Have fun and do tell me how it goes!
SPONGE CAKE BAKLAVA. Layers of crispy phyllo on the outside and a soft syrup-soaked pistachio & walnut cake in the middle.
Greek Baklava Recipe With It’s No Fail Little Secrets
For the baklava base:
- 1 pack of 450 grams phyllo pastry sheets
- 250 grams butter
For the filling;
- 200 grams walnuts
- 100 grams almonds
- 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/3 teaspoon ground clove
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the syrup:
- 600 grams water
- 600 grams sugar
- 200 grams honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
For the filling:
- Blend almonds and walnuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
- Mix nuts in a bowl along with the remaining ingredients for the filling.
- Preheat oven to 150°C/302°F.
- Lay open the phyllo sheets stack on your working surface and cover with a tea towel (so they won’t air-dry).
- With a pastry brush, grease an 11”x15”/ 26×36 cm baking pan with melted butter.
- NOTE: To create the base of the Baklava you will need 4 phyllo sheets. 2 to cover the pan lengthwise, and 2 to cover the pan widthwise. Each phyllo sheet should hang out of the pan a bit, in order to overlap it later on and secure the filling .
- Start making the phyllo base: Lay the 1st phyllo in the pan and grease with butter.
- Lay 2nd phyllo on top, grease with butter and a sprinkle of water. Repeat process for the next two phyllo sheets.
- Sprinkle with 2-3 handfuls of the nut filling on top.
- Add next phyllo and fold all four sides inwards. Brush with butter.
- Add another phyllo and fold it exactly the same way. Grease with butter, sprinkle with water and add 2-3 more handfuls of filling.
- Repeat process 2 more times.
- Add the last 2 phyllo sheets on top. Greased with butter and sprinkled with water in between.
- Overlap the excess phyllo (that hangs out of the pan) inwards. Brush with the remaining butter.
- Cut the Baklava (all the way through to the bottom) into triangular pieces.
- Bake for about 1h and 20 minutes. After the first 50 minutes of baking cover the Baklava with aluminum foil and continue baking for about 20-30 minutes more. Until Baklava gets a golden brown color and a nice crispiness.
For the syrup:
- About 15 minutes before Baklava is completely baked, start making the syrup.
- In a medium saucepan add water, sugar, honey and lemon juice.
- Heat over high heat and once it starts boiling reduce heat to medium and cook for 5-6 minutes. DO NOT STIR syrup may get crystallized.
- Once the Baklava is baked, pour the hot syrup on top using a ladle.
- Let Baklava reach room temperature before refrigerating.
- Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours before serving.
- Serve with some extra honey or nuts on top.
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