Holiday Baking # 28: Baklava

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Here's the second of the separate recipes from my Christmas in Bethlehem menu, and the recipe that most needed the accompanying pictures, in  my opinion.  Baklava is a total party dessert--- gorgeous in presentation, completely indulgent, and a little more time consuming to prepare than you'd want for a dessert for any old night.  I highly recommend having an extra set of hands to help you during the assembly process, since you need to move rather quickly to keep the phyllo sheets from drying out.  The process, although time consuming, is rather simple and you'll absolutely love the WOW factor that this dessert brings! 

Click here for printable recipe. 

The ingredients: 

1 pkg. (16-ounces) phyllo dough (in the refrigerated or freezer section)
1 lb. chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1 cup butter ( I ended up needing an additional stick)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey

  Preheat oven to 350°.  Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13-inch pan.  Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. 

Set aside.  Unroll phyllo dough.  Cut whole stack in half to fit pan (my phyllo sheets were just the right size already, so I did not need to cut them). 
Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work.  Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter each layer thoroughly. 

Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered.  Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top.  Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go.  The top layer should be about 6-8 sheets deep. 

(In summary:  It will start off with 8 buttered sheets, nut mixture, then 2 buttered sheets, then nuts, repeated until nuts are gone and there are 6-8 sheets left for the top layer).  

NOTE:  It really helps if you have a helper during this part.  I had my son doing the buttering, while I placed the fragile phyllo sheets, and my daughter sprinkled the nuts.  It made it go much more smoothly that way. 

Here it is when the layering is complete: 

Using a sharp knife cut into diamond shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan.  (You may want to plan a cutting pattern before you begin. Mine did not turn out as pretty as I'd hoped.)

Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.  (this is the baklava I made last year and I liked the cutting pattern on this one much better than the one I did this year [pictured above] even though the pieces were triangular rather than diamond shaped)

Make syrup while baklava is baking.  Boil sugar and water until sugar is dissolved.  Add vanilla and honey and simmer for about 20 minutes. 

Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon syrup over it. 

Let cool.  Serve in cupcake papers.  Freezes well.  Store uncovered (or it will get soggy).  Enjoy! 

Originally from


Arlene Delloro December 28, 2010 at 3:19 PM  

One of my very favorite desserts (so I can't make it much). This recipe is very easy and I'm going to try it next time. Mine was given to me by a Greek woman and is more complex. Yours looks beautiful and probably tasted exactly the same.

ann December 28, 2010 at 4:58 PM  

Wow, that is a beautiful dessert! A lot of work but definitely worth it!

teresa December 28, 2010 at 9:33 PM  

we had baklava for christmas too, this looks divine!

Anonymous,  December 30, 2010 at 10:39 AM  

I have SOOOO wanted to try my hand at Baklava! Anxious to give this recipe a shot. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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