Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Simplest Baklava Recipe (Greek Walnut, Pistachio and Syrup cake)

The recipe can be summarised in three key stages: Preparing the nut-y fillingLayering the filo sheets and Preparing the scented syrup. For the filling, my personal favourite is walnuts mixed with pistachios but feel free to experiment with almonds or just pistachios or whatever suits your taste. I always use fresh filo(phyllo) sheets as it saves time defrosting them. Working with phyllo can be tricky as its brittle and can dry out very quickly, so make sure you have a cleared out working surface, large enough to spread the filo sheets and minimise the time that they are exposed to the dry air. For more tips on working with filo sheets click here.
So go ahead, give it a try and let everyone think you are a master chef!

For the baklava

  • 1kg phyllo dough (35 ounces)
  • 1kg (35 ounces) walnuts, chopped (or 1/2 walnuts and 1/2 almonds/pistachios)
  • 3 tbsps grounded cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp grounded clove
  • 2 cups of butter, melted
  • some whole cloves

For the syrup

  • 6 cups of sugar
  • 4 cups of water
  • 500g glucose or honey (18 ounces)
  • zest of 2 lemons


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and butter the bottom and sides of a baking pan (approx.35cm). Begin by layering the sheets of phyllo one at a time, making sure to brush each one with melted butter. You will use 4 sheets for the bottom of the baklava.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the chopped walnuts, the cinnamon and grounded clove. Sprinkle with some of the walnut mixture and layer 2 more phyllo sheets, brushing each one with butter. Sprinkle with some of the walnut and repeat. Top the baklava with 4 sheets of phyllo and brush thoroughly with melted butter.
  3. Use a sharp knife to cut the baklava into small pieces, pour over the remaining melted butter, and sprinkle with some cold water. If you fancy the taste of clove, place one whole clove berry into the middle of each piece. Bake in preheated oven at 175C for about 40 minutes, until the phyllo is golden.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the syrup for the baklava. Into a pan mix all the ingredients for the syrup and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. As soon as the baklava is ready, ladle slowly the hot syrup over the pastry, enabling it to be absorbed. Serve after the syrup is absorbed. Enjoy!

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