This perfectly glazed, crunchy piece of heaven, is in fact, a piece of 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 not adding 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. It's usually almonds or walnuts, sometimes both, and sometimes pistachios are used as well. 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.
An authentic Baklava should be crispy, crunchy, and pretty syrupy. You can easily achieve that if you follow the no-fail little secrets below. These are tips you learn after making Baklava a number of times. Or learn them from people who themselves have made Baklava way too many times. So here they are...
Baklava's N0-Fail Secrets
- Let the phyllo package in the fridge overnight to unfreeze then at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
- Roll open the phyllo sheets gently on your working surface and cover them with a teatowel so they won't air-dry.
- Take one phyllo sheet at a time while covering the rest with a towel (they air-dry quickly).
- Make sure you cut the Baklava all the way to the bottom layers so it bakes properly.
- Baklava is baked at a low temperature for more than one hour.
- The syrup is made first and left to cool down to room temperature before pouring it over the Baklava.
- Baklava should reach room temperature before refrigerating. Refrigerating a warm Baklava may lead to the syrup forming sugar lumps.
- 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 syrup after it starts to boil. Again it might crystallize. That's why lemon juice is added to thick syrups to help prevent this.
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 for most people ).
The recipe gives a whole 11''x15''/ 26x36 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.
This recipe is using a large pan. If you want to make a Baklava in a classic 9 x 13-inch pan by trimming the phyllo and skipping the folding (as it is done in this recipe), check out my other recipe for Walnut Baklava.
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 Syrup:
- 500 ml water
- 500 grams / 17.6 oz sugar
- 150 grams / 5.3 oz honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For The Baklava:
- 1 package (450 grams) phyllo dough
- 250 grams / 8.8 oz butter melted
For The Filling:
- 200 grams / 7 oz walnuts
- 100 grams / 3.5 oz almonds
- 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ⅓ teaspoon ground clove
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Thaw the phyllo by leaving it in the fridge overnight. Then at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
For The Syrup:
- In a medium-sized saucepan add all of the ingredients for the syrup.
- Heat over high heat and once it starts boiling reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes without stirring. Then set aside to cool.
For The Filling:
- Blend almonds and walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped.
- Mix nuts in a bowl along with the remaining ingredients for the filling.
For The Baklava:
- Preheat oven to 170°C / 338°F using the oven's upper and lower heat function.
- Lay open the phyllo stack on your working surface and cover it with a tea towel (so it won't air-dry).
- With a pastry brush, brush an 11''x15''/ 26x36 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 on top later on.
- Add the 4 phyllo's for the base in the pan as explained above and brush each one with butter.
- 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 and add 2-3 more handfuls of filling.
- Repeat the process 2 more times.
- Add the last 2 phyllo sheets on top (if your stack had a few more phyllo's simply add them on top as well always brushed with butter).
- Overlap the excess phyllo (that hangs out of the pan) on top. Brush with the remaining butter.
- Cut the Baklava (all the way through to the bottom) into triangular pieces.
- Place the pan on the oven's lowest rack. Bake for about 1h and 20 minutes. Or until Baklava is deeply golden on top and very crispy.
- Once the Baklava is baked, ladle the cold syrup on top.
- 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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