This traditional Greek baklava has layers of tender filo pastry with a walnut filling and is coated in a spiced syrup. This delicious recipe was passed from my Yia Yia to her daughter-in-law (my mother) to me. I've added a few extra tips at the end!
Cutting the baklava is best done with a large butchers knife and a gentle hand to hold down the top filo pastry layers while cutting. To cut in diamonds, make 4 even cuts down the length of the pan, and then make cuts diagonally beginning at the corner.
Filo dough dries out quickly and becomes difficult to work with, so it is best to work quickly.
Using a glass baking dish is best, because it allows the cook to see if the bottom of the baklava is getting golden brown. Be sure to store it uncovered, so that it will stay moist.
Hi everyone, I submitted this recipe and have a quick note for anyone who saw this featured in the AR magazine: They said they halved the syrup and only let it sit for 2 hours. Though this is possible to do in a pinch, the baklava really does need the full 8 hours to soak up the syrup in order to have the optimal moist texture. I have tried it both ways, and the traditional 8 hours is much preferable to people I serve this to. Enjoy! - 03 Sep 2014 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
I made this today for a Valentine's Day treat for my family, who loves baklava. I only used 10 ounces of walnuts, and felt that was more than enough. After brushing butter on each piece of phyllo and putting together the pan of baklava, there was still about a cup of butter left. Since I have made baklava before with a Turkish girlfriend, I remembered that she just poured about a cup of melted butter over her layers of nuts and dough, so that's what I did with the rest and it turned out great. Next time I make this, I'll use a lot less cinnamon--it's just not a taste I associate with baklava, although it wasn't bad. I'll definitely use this recipe again, but with a few tweaks. I also used the suggestions in the All Recipes magazine of cutting down the syrup to 1 1/4 cups water and 1 1/2 cups of sugar with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and only let the syrup soak in for 2 hours before eating. - 14 Feb 2014 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
Just made this for a xmas eve dinner party, and it received rave reviews from some very savvy baklava lovers. I did make a couple of tweak, as I grew up with baklava (am half Greek) and had some Nana memories to work from. I added honey to the syrup. Can't really say how much, as I was making a double batch, and doing things to taste. Also, I didn't add cloves to the syrup (didn't have any whole) so instead added ground cloves and a tablespoon of allspice to the walnuts, decreasing the cinnamon and omitting the nutmeg (the later wasn't a flavor I remembered in Nana's delicious baklava). those were my only changes, I followed the ratios of phyllo to walnuts mixture religiously, and let the syrup soak in for about 12 hours ( in the fridge). The results were moist, syrup soaked pastries that were still crisp and fabulous. As I said, rave reviews!! People went out of their way to tell me how perfect they were. - 24 Dec 2015 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)