Hello dear readers,
today I have something special - a very Mediterranean recipe for Baklava. This typical recipe with step-by-step instructions is my bring-back from our vacation. Because my passion for baking will naturally not let me go even when I'm traveling.
Wherever I go, I'm on the lookout for regional specialties, look into bakeries and try to elicit tips from local bakers 😉 . Like when we were in Cyprus for a week.
With this baklava recipe, you'll find that it's not even that complicated to bake the sugary sweet treat from dough sheets and syrup.
So lets get started!
About this recipe
Incredibly delicious classic: this fluffy bee sting made from yeast dough is filled with a custard cream, but it also tastes great without the filling as an especially quick alternative.
Fortunately, I asked the bakers and pastry chefs at Aldiana Club Cyprus if I could accompany them to work. So I was there when they prepared two specialties - and of course, I also got the recipes for you.
Firstly Baklava, the very popular pastry made of filo / phyllo dough and nut filling. Be it hazelnuts, walnuts or pistachios, in many countries of the Arab world as well as in Greece and Turkey;
And secondly Doukissa, an addictive Cypriot chocolate cake similar to our "cold dog" (the recipe can be found here). By the way, at the club, they have employed a pastry chef exclusively for baklava and similar filo desserts! It just takes time to prepare the dessert.
Taste and Occasion
It is sweet. Heavenly sweet. That comes from the syrup that is soaked into the dough, and gives Baklava its unique taste. You serve the little treats as a side-dish for tea or a flying buffet, I personally wouldn't serve it together with cake or coffee.
I call this an original baklava recipe, simply because I got it from an expert in the region of origin. A special original Baklava does not exist after my research, but only special alternatives from different countries (even if that might be seen a little differently in Turkey).
This delicious German butter cake with almonds is a popular sheet cake classic without much effort. The cream icing makes it exceptionally moist.
Some make baklava of Yufka Dough or filo dough. The filling may contain, for example, pistachios (for Turkish baklava), almonds, walnuts, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon (Greek baklava), and rose water.
How to make Baklava
All baklava recipes share the numerous preparation steps: many thin dough sheets are layered on top of each other, on a foundation layer comes the filling, the end is again dough sheets. After baking, you soak the Baklava with a lot of syrup. Sugar or honey in masses!
Now to get started, prepare the nuts in case they aren't chopped yet, and blend them with the cinnamon. Melt the ghee and pre-heat the oven.
Now you start with the filo dough. Take around 200g of the dough, and cover the bottom of an ovenproof dish (10x14") with two layers on top of each other. Brush with a lot of liquid ghee or butter, put two layers of sheets again, brush them again with liquid ghee and continue until you have used all the 200g dough.
Then spread the nut mixture on top. Do the same with the remaining 300 g filo dough until all the dough and fat is used up: Put 2 layers of dough in each mold, spread with ghee and so on. Finally, brush the surface with ghee. The fat should be used up completely, after baking pour off excess fat.
Pre-draw lines with a large knife so that you don't cut curves when cutting each baklava diamond or square.
Spray the finished prepared baklava with a little cold water to prevent dough from rising too much and to crisp the surface.
Bake it for about 30 to 40 minutes until it is golden brown. Depending on your oven, it may take shorter or longer, so always check the color.
Meanwhile, prepare the sugar syrup: In a saucepan, combine sugar and water, bring to a boil, let dissolve, and reduce over low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and optionally add rose water.
When the baklava is done, you can "dump" all excess ghee; to do this, hold the baking pan or baking sheet at an angle over the spout with oven mitts. Then pour the hot syrup over the baklava while it is still hot. Allow infusing and cool. Separate the pre-cut pieces again with a knife.
Important for good baklava, the Pastry Chef told me, is really high-quality filo dough or Yufka dough. When you buy Filo Dough, he said, you should make sure that it doesn't look too dry. Sometimes it is stored too long in the stores, for example in the freezer or in the refrigerator, and is then no longer elastic, but brittle.
Baklava original recipe
For dough and filling
- 500 grams (1.1 lb) filo dough, you can buy them in a Turkish store or the like
- 200 grams (1 ½ cups) chopped nuts, or coarsely ground
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 200 grams (1.1 cups) ghee, alternatively butter
For the syrup
- 200 milliliters (⅘ cups) water
- 300 grams (1 ½ cups) sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 20 milliliters (1 ½ tablespoon) rose water, optional
- Coarsely grind or finely chop the nuts or almonds. Mix with the cinnamon and set aside. Melt the ghee or butter. Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F.
- Weigh out 200 g of filo leaves. On the bottom of an ovenproof dish (about 25*35 cm), first place two layers of filo sheets (so that the entire bottom is covered with a double layer of filo). Brush with a lot of liquid ghee or butter, put two layers of sheets again, brush them again with liquid ghee and continue until the 200 g are used up.
- Then spread the nut mixture on top. Do the same with the remaining 300 g filo dough until all the dough and fat is used up: Put 2 layers of dough in each mold, spread with ghee and so on. Finally, brush the surface with ghee. The fat should be used up completely, after baking pour off excess fat.
- Pre-draw lines with a large knife so that you don't cut curves when cutting each baklava diamond or square… Use a smaller sharp knife to carefully cut pieces.
- Spray the finished prepared baklava with a little cold water to prevent dough from rising too much and to crisp the surface.
- Bake baklava at 160 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Note: depending on the stove, it may take shorter or longer!
- Meanwhile, prepare the sugar syrup: In a saucepan, combine sugar and water, bring to a boil, let dissolve and reduce over low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and optionally add rose water.
- When the baklava is done, you can "dump" excess ghee; to do this, hold the baking pan or baking sheet at an angle over the spout with oven mitts. Then pour the hot syrup over the baklava while it is still hot. Allow to infuse and cool. Separate the pre-cut pieces again with a knife.
Baklava is definitely a lush Turkish dessert, but also a very tasty one. Who likes it a little less sweet, can reduce the amount of sugar syrup quite without major losses 😉.
Who likes to bake vegan baklava, can also take vegan fat instead of ghee or butter. (The fat, by the way, does not remain completely in the baklava.) I scaled down the huge quantities from the restaurant kitchen to a normal measure of course.
If you take a small baking tray or similar, this should have a high edge. For a smaller baking pan, it's easy to halve the ingredients. And now have fun baking the recipe!
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