An American twist on a popular Mediterranean pastry. Apples, walnuts and Autumn spices rolled up in a crisp phyllo dough and baked to perfection.
What Is Baklava?
Baklava, known throughout Greece and Turkey, Baklawa in the Middle East, is a luscious butter lathered pastry stuffed with nuts and drizzled with honey.
I grew up making this dessert with a variety of nuts, and have changed many aspects of how I make it from the original recipes and techniques. So why not make an American version of a Mediterranean nut pastry, I thought? Yes! I will make something new and yet very American. Apples! After all, apples are totally American, aren’t they!
Cooking With Apples
Unlike apple pie, this filling is simmered down into a beautiful apple caramel, filled with walnuts and raisins, rather than raw apples going into a pastry. I then roll this luscious mixture inside layers of phyllo dough and it is baked in less than 30 minutes.
I don’t know about you but I have often found that my raw apple slices don’t always cook as well as I would like inside of my pie crust, especially since I can’t see them. Also the risk of over cooking the pie crust, in order to have the apples baked made me skeptical of using raw apples in my phyllo dough.
This technique is easy and full-proof, also making it easier to roll the filling into a multi-layered phyllo dough pastry. Crunchy outer, caramelized inner, all around deliciousness.
Working With Phyllo Dough
When layering sheets of phyllo dough, before filling with a sweet or savory filling, it is basted with melted butter or olive oil. I tried something very different with this apple baklava technique. See what you think!
Since I pre-cook the apples in butter, olive oil, sugar and lots of spices, I used the juices and drippings from preparing the apple mixture on top the stove, as the basting liquid for the phyllo dough. Oh my goodness! Apple juices, mingled with spices and enough butter and olive oil to make for the perfect flavor filled basting liquid for the dough.
Once the apple mixture is prepared and cooled, it is easily rolled inside of the basted phyllo dough and baked to perfection in under 30 minutes.
One package of phyllo dough has enough to make several apple baklava rolls so if you take the time to make several, they will freeze beautifully and reheat as though you just made them.
- Olive oil
- Ground Cardamom
- Ground Nutmeg
- Ground Cloves
- Phyllo dough
- Saute pan
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife
- Vegetable peeler
- Slotted spatula
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Basting brush
- Baking sheet pan
- Parchment paper
- Stovetop or burner
Apple Baklava Recipe
- Butter – 3 tablespoons
- Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Lemon – 1 lemon juiced, saving zest
- Sugar – 1/2 cup
- Ground Cardamom – 1/4 teaspoon
- Ground Nutmeg – 1/4 teaspoon
- Ground Cloves – 1/8 teaspoon
- Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
- Walnuts pieces – 1/2 cup, chopped
- Raisins – 1/4 cup
- Apples – 5, peeled, cored and sliced thin
- Phyllo dough sheets – 10
- Preheat oven 350
- In a large frying pan with a lid, melt butter with olive oil. Add the apples, sugar, and spices. Toss well and cook covered on medium for about 10 minutes. Remove cover and lower a bit to cook another 5 minutes, tossing occasionally. Turn off.
- With a slotted spoon remove all the apples into a mixing bowl. Add nuts and raisins and lemon zest, toss and set aside.
- Baste a stack of 10 sheets of phyllo dough with the juice in the pan from cooking the apples.
- Lay a mound of cooked apple mixture in a log-shape at the long end of the stack of dough.
- Roll it up, baste more liquid all around to hold it together nicely. Make a few small slices at an angle on top of the dough, taking care not to cut through to the filling (this always makes phyllo easier to cut after it’s baked).
- Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until golden on top.
- Cool and slice.