Food is the most delicious way I know to keep family traditions alive, and Baklava is our family’s most favored traditional dessert.
I grew up in a Syrian/American home, and have been cooking since I could stand on a chair to knead bread. I have a large foodie family. Even have a few professionals in the bunch! But when our family gathers, it is the food of my heritage that keeps our culture, and traditions alive for my children, and now, grandchildren.
Baklava, or rather Baklawa, as it is known in the Middle East, is a dessert that is really quite easy to make. Simply follow along, and you too can wow your family and friends with something just a little bit exotic and special!
Servings: 2 rolls with 8 – 10 slices per roll
- Pistachios or Walnuts – 4 cups (or your favorite nut)
- Sugar – 1 ½ cups
- Cinnamon – 1 tablespoon
- Egg – 1
- Salt – 1 teaspoon
Place nuts, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor, (or blender) and blend until nuts are finely ground. Whisk egg a little, then pour into processor while blending, and grind until ingredients begin to form a paste. Set aside.
- Sugar – 1 cup
- Water – ¾ cup
- Honey – ½ cup (agave, date syrup, or coconut syrup can be used)
- Orange Blossom Water – 1 teaspoon (or vanilla)
Place syrup ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, lower, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off. (left-overs can be saved in the fridge)
- Phyllo sheets – 8 sheets, using 4 sheets per roll.
- Butter – 4 ounces, melted
- Orange Rind – optional for finishing
Preheat oven to 350.
Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.
- Quickly baste melted butter across the top of a phyllo sheet. Continue stacking one sheet at a time and baste, until you have four sheets basted.
- Place half of the prepared filling at the long end of the prepared phyllo stack. Fold the end over the filling, and roll the filling inside the dough, basting just a little melted butter as you roll.
- Place on prepared baking sheet, seam side down.
- With a sharp knife, gently slice angled slices, (about an inch wide) just across the top of the roll, (this makes final slicing so much easier).
- Bake for about 25 – 35 minutes, until the tops are golden.
- Remove from the oven.
- Press a sharp knife, the remainder of the way through each slice, while pastry is hot/warm.
- Drizzle syrup across the slices, taking care to allow the syrup to seep into the slices. It is not necessary to use all the syrup, only enough to gently sweeten.
- Grate a little orange peel across the tops.
*Baklava will last in a closed container in the fridge for several weeks. Simply allow the desired serving amount to become room temp before serving.