Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Baklava – So Good, It’s Nuts!

Assuming you haven’t used up all your homemade filo dough already, as promised, here’s my method for building what I think is a beautiful baklava. Like lasagna, there are as many versions of this, as there are cooks who make it, but regardless of the exact ingredients, or specific number of layers, the technique is the same. 

I tend to enjoy a generous ratio between nuts and pastry, as that makes me feel a little bit better about the copious amounts of sugar in this, but above and beyond that, I think this approach produces the best texture. As I mentioned in the video, you can use as many layers of filo as you want, but be careful, since too many may not cook through, and the only way to mess this up is to undercook the dough. The top and bottom layers need to dry out, and thoroughly crisp up, otherwise, once the syrup gets ladled over, you’ll have a soggy mess.

I would start peeking at it after about 45 minutes, but it’s probably going to need closer to an hour, or even more, depending on how much “stuff” you used. Once done, and finished with the syrup, you need to let this cool down to room temp, which is incredibly hard to do. But, your patience will be rewarded with one of the most delicious things known to man. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Makes one 9-inch round Baklava:
*Note: I don’t know how this translate to different size pans, but I’m sure you’ll figure that out.

16 sheets homemade filo/phyllo dough (or 1 package frozen filo/phyllo dough, defrosted)
1 stick (1/2-cup) melted unsalted butter
- For the syrup:
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
3 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons orange blossom water (or sub some orange and lemon peel)
- For the nut mixture:
2 1/2 cups walnut halves
1 cup shelled pistachios
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

- Bake at 350 F. for about 1 hour, let rest for 5 minutes, and apply syrup


Baron George said...

How about a tad of bourbon tossed into the syrup while its cooking?

Kennapop3 said...

I used to make this a lot (when I was larger). I have some orange blossom honey that need to be enjoyed so here I go again. Thanks Chef John

Alicia said...

Looks and sounds amazing. I watched the previous video where you made the dough, that was quite a process. I made Baklava several years ago but used the store bough dough and it was the best thing I had ever tasted. I'll have to try it again soon. It's time consuming, but so satisfying to think you created it.

Hartabuna said...

Excellent recipe - the way my grandma used to make it.
If you want to be fancy one can use almonds and cashew nuts.
One thing though: Make the syrup way ahead of time. You can store the syrup for weeks.
Adding hot syrup to hot pastry makes it mushy.
It is the same syrup for Zalabyas and Knaffe.
For people who like licorice flavor, add some cinnamon and Arak (Lebanese anise liqueur)
to the syrup instead of the orange blossom.

Simone Alfinito said...

Hi chef John! Can I stuff baklava with something like a meat ragù or a lasagna filling and skip the syrup?

Unknown said...

Are the pistachios in your video salted or unsalted? Thanks!

splintersnstitches said...

I'm dying to try this, it sounds amazing!! A couple of questions though. How long does this keep for? And do I store it in the fridge, or can it be left on the counter?

N.B. Kristjansson said...

Is there any chance of Chef John appearing on Live with Kelly and Ryan? They're doing a series called "Eat It, Like It, Share It Summer Cook-off" featuring Internet chefs.

Jason Smith said...

CJ, you knocked this one out-of-the-park!!

SERIOUSLY! This brought a tear to my culinary jaded eye! :')

Shabby Hijabi said...

Chef John you've got the Baklava down, now it's time for you to make Kanafeh!!! You won't regret it!

Tommy Fatboy said...

Thanks CJ. Will be trying out your version this weekend. I have tried the authentic Turkish recipe where rose water for syrup and cardamom powder for the nuts are used. Turn out pretty good. Shall update my results with your version.

Levi C said...

Chef John- just finished my baklava adventure an hour ago! Had to substitute orange and lemon peels for the orange blossom water, and I had quite the time trimming rectangular sheets of storebought phyllo for a round pan, but it came out wonderfully. Thank you for this recipe.

Tommy Fatboy said...

Levi C - I tried CJ's version of phyllo. It's the best. It stays crispy even after almost a month in the refrigerator. Layers are clearly visible although chilled. It will be my go to recipe. I used rose water instead of orange blossom and added saffron threads to the syrup. And cardamom powder to the nuts. Perfect . Recommend you to try making the phyllo. Use a round tray . Save trimming time ��

tamia11 falanna said...

Hartabuna, thanks for the great tip.Thanks CJ for this recipe, I'm making tomorrow I know this will be great, CJ recipes always turn out great for me.

tamia11 falanna said...

I made this and it is delicious!So delicious, I have phillo dough left over, so I'm making it again tonight.A I will and did enjoyyyyyy.

Anne Begley said...

Looks amazing! I've never made it before but you made it look easy so will have to try it.

Two bee baking said...

Trying it tonight, this may be "the one"

Ruth Jackson said...

This looks lovely and I plan to make some to take to a meeting a week from today. I plan to make 2 trays one just like this and one for the nut allergy people. Do you think a pear and coconut filling would work? There is someone with a bad nut allergy and someone with an allergy to many fruits. I know she can eat pears as she makes the most wonderful pear pies...

Nunzio Lazzara said...

Made this for my wife’s birthday, Phyllo dough and all from scratch, and she loved it! Chef John, even the more difficult recipes you present to us, such as this one, are made accessible by your videos and teaching style. Thank you!