Baklava (Baghlava), this popular dessert is made in different parts of the world with some slight variations. It has layers and layers of flaky pastry surrounding nuts and spices and sweetened with an fragrant syrup. I make mine with almond and walnut filling. Baklava, or Baghlava as we call it in Farsi, looks a lot more complicated than it really is. I have another dessert called Baklava Cake that has a walnut filling with spices and is baked between two layers of a homemade dough. This Baklava recipe that I’m sharing today is made using phyllo sheets and the only preparation it needs is grounding the nuts and brushing the sheets with sweet butter.
Baking Baklava is really a process of assembling the ingredients and the oven does the rest. Maybe the hardest part is separating the very thin phyllo sheets that tend to stick together with dear life! But seriously, as long as the phyllo sheets are completely defrosted and are kept moist under a damp pastry cloth, making this fancy and tasty dessert is fairly simple.
The other important points to keep in mind are, to brush every sheet lightly with butter, and to make sure the hot syrup is poured over the lukewarm Baklava at the end.
I like to trim the phyllo sheets a little so they fit better in the baking pan. They don’t have to be exactly the same size as the pan, just not so big that they start bunching up on the sides of the pan; this makes the edge pieces thicker than the rest and not as light as the middle ones! To do this, I put one sheet in the pan before brushing it with butter, then I place it on the stack of sheets as a guide and cut through the stack with a sharp knife.
Blanch your own almonds or use good quality store-bought ones
Process the almonds and walnuts in the food processor only until they look like this, longer processing will turn them to paste and we don’t want that.
Layer the pastry, score and cut it into squares, then bake. Next let the baked Baklava cool a bit and run a knife along the edges and between the squares before pouring syrup all over it.
Sprinkle the Baklava with chopped pistachios and wait a few hours for the syrup to do its magic.
Enjoy Baklava with a glass of fresh brewed Persian Tea.
Bake time: 35 minutes
Yield: 24 Baklavas
9x13x2 oven proof glass baking pan
- 20 Phyllo pastry sheets (defrost in the refrigerator for one day, then leave out at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- ¾ pound sweet butter, melted
- FOR FILLING
- 12 ounces blanched almonds (no brown skin), ground in a food processor (3 cups ground almonds).
- 6 ounces walnuts, ground in a food processor (1 ½ cups ground walnuts)
- 3 TBSP granulated sugar
- 5 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- FOR SYRUP
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup water
- ¾ cup honey
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 TBSP plus ¼ tsp rose water
- ¼ cup pistachio nuts finely chopped, to sprinkle on top of the pastry
- Preheat the oven to 350 F, center rack.
- To blanch the almonds at home: Place 12 ounces of almonds in a medium bowl. Add enough boiling hot water over them to cover the almonds. Put a plate over the bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes, or until the skins slide off easily. When just cool enough to handle, press the almond between two fingers and the skin will slide right off. Process in the food processor just until fine,
- Set the almonds aside and process the walnuts in the food processor, same size as the almonds.
- In a small bowl mix sugar, cardamom and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Trim the phyllo sheets a bit so they fit the baking dish and you don't have to double fold it on the sides.
- Cover the sheets with a large damp pastry cloth to prevent drying.
- Brush the bottom and sides of the 9 x 13 x 2 Pyrex pan with the melted butter.
- Layer the pan with one phyllo sheet. Brush the entire surface with melted butter. Repeat this with 5 more sheets and brush each with melted butter.
- Add half of the ground almonds (1 ½ cups) to the stacked phyllo sheets and use a fork to spread it evenly. Reserve the other half of the ground almonds. Set aside.
- Sprinkle 5 teaspoons of the sugar/spice mix evenly over the ground almonds.
- Top the ground almonds with one sheet of phyllo pastry and brush it with melted butter. Top with 3 more phyllo sheets, brushing each with melted butter.
- Next add the ground walnuts evenly on the phyllo sheet.
- If the butter starts to solidify, microwave for 20 seconds.
- Sprinkle 5 teaspoons of the sugar/spice mix evenly over the ground walnuts.
- Top the ground walnuts with 4 sheets of phyllo, brushing each with melted butter.
- Add the reserved ground almonds evenly on the top phyllo sheet.
- Sprinkle the remaining sugar/spice mix evenly on top of the ground almonds.
- Top the almond layer with the remaining 6 sheets of phyllo pastry, brushing each sheet with the melted butter as above.
- Brush the top sheet with butter. Use a sharp knife to score the top sheet into 24 squares, about 2 x 2 inch each. gently cut the pastry into 24 pieces. Make sure to cut through all the layers.
- Bake the pastry in preheated 350 F oven for 35-40 min or until golden brown. Remove the baking dish from the oven.
- Let the Baklava cool on a wire rack for about 1 hour until lukewarm. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and between the squares before pouring the syrup over the cooled pastry.
- MAKE THE SYRUP
- Add all the syrup ingredients, except the rose water, to a 1-Qt saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 5 min, until the mixtures thickens slightly. Watch the syrup closely, it tends to boil over. Remove from heat and stir in the rose water.
- Pour the hot syrup over the lukewarm Baklava.
- Sprinkle the top with finely chopped pistachio nuts and wait 2-3 hours to allow the syrup soak through the pastry before serving. Cover and store the extra pastry in the original baking dish for up to 2 days at room temperature.
- Baklava freezes well. Once completely cooled, cover the top, without touching the pastries, with parchment paper and heavy duty aluminum foil before storing it in the freezer. To serve, bring to room temperature for about an hour.
** You may substitute 10 cardamom pods, or 1 cinnamon stick for the rose water. In this case you will need to add them to the syrup at the same time that you add the rest of the syrup ingredients. Then once the syrup is ready use a slotted spoon to take the cardamom pods, or cinnamon stick, out before pouring the syrup over the baked Baklava.
Fae's Twist & Tango says
Magnificent baghlava! You are leading us to the arrival of spring… Nowruz! You really do put due diligence in your cooking and presentation, including peeling fresh poached almonds!
Persian Mama says
Thank you for your attention my dear! Isn’t this the best time of year? I’m so looking forward to spring and Nowruz. The fresh blanched almonds take a bit of time, probably no more than going to the store ( I usually have un blanched almonds around the house for snacking) and buying the packaged ones, and they taste so much better 🙂
Fae's Twist & Tango says
Oh, I forgot to mention the attention taker, breath taking, beautiful plates you’ve served the baghlavas in!
Persian Mama says
Ah, I do love how you pay attention to detail! Those are my prized treasures! They used to belong to my sweet maman, and I watched her use them when she was entertaining her guests for as long as I can remember! And by the way, the white table cloth with handsewn borders used to belong to my grandma!
Where can i find phyllo pastry sheets in tehran thank you
Alma jan; I’m not in Iran, but I’m sure you could find it from the ghannadi (confectionery bakery).
Good luck and happy baking! Please keep me posted about the outcome! Lovely to hear from you from Tehran 😉
bibi k mazloom says
I am so glad I found you website ftom Facebook. Thanks to my sister in law.I need to know. How can I get the recipe foe elephant ears.or the monagha.
Persian Mama says
Glad to have you here Bibi, welcome! I was able to find a recipe for you for elephant ears (gooshe feel), that looks good, but I have not tried it myself. I hope this is what you are looking for, here it is: http://www.thespicespoon.com/blog/gosh-e-feel/
Pat Partovi says
I made this delicious baklava for my mother’s birthday party and everyone absolutely loved it, especially my husband. The guests all begged to take some home, which was fine because there was plenty. I found the instructions to be very complete and easy to follow and the baklava was just as attractive as it was in Homa’s pictures. I used slivered almonds and they tasted great.
Pat, thanks so much for trying my recipe for the wonderful occasion of your dear mom’s birthday. It is great to hear that the instructions were useful and that the Baklava was a hit 🙂 I really like the idea of using slivered almonds. I truly appreciate your comment, thank you!
Maggie lavay says
I am planning to make this for this coming Sunday. Will the Baklava stay nice and crisp if it’s made the day before? Thanks.
Yes Maggie, it will be fine! Let the Baklava cool completely, then store it in an airtight container at room temperature.
Azizaaaam kheili khoooob boood
Khosh halam Elahe joon! Nooshe jan 🙂
Bah, bah, bah, Vallah kheili khoob ! Khanom Homa merci !
Salam Sarvenaz; mamnun aziz! Khosh halam doost dashtin
Robin Evans says
My momma was born in Tehran. Her dad went there to serve as a medical missionary and they lived there until Mom was 11. They returned back home on the boat and brought massive amounts of Persian rugs, brass plates and bowls, intricate wooden boxes and even a men’s Persian costume. We’ve all learned to be sure to put some halva in her stocking for Christmas. She has written a journal marking what life was like there and it’s really interesting to read about all the foods that she has eaten. It’s her 90th birthday March 5th and I am in charge of desserts. I’m not sure what I want to make because they all look so delicious. Is there anything that you can recommend for this special event?
Thank you, Robin Evans
Hi Robin; I’ve enjoyed reading the amazing story that you’ve shared here, and I know I would have loved reading your momma’s journal; one can only imagine how incredible her life must have been as a little girl living in Tehran, all those years ago!
I would suggest this baghlava, or my Baklava cake recipe: https://persianmama.com/baklava-cake/
Both of these desserts are truly amazing with flavors of cardamon, cinnamon and rose water. I wish your dear mom a happy and wonderful birthday. Please keep in touch and let me know if you have any further questions.
Made this recipe for the first time tonight and got rave reviews!!! Thanks so much for sharing I loved it– very easy to follow 🙂
Happy to hear that Sarah; thanks so much for sharing your successful first attempt experience!! Please keep in touch.
Hello Persian Mama, one of my work colleagues is Iranian and she has brought us from Iran some delicious baghlava with pistachio, almonds, rose water, cardamon and not as sweet as the Turkish baklava. I have loved it! The pieces of the baghlava had the shape of a rose. I would like to try to make the baghlava at home, but i don’t know how to make the rose shape. Also, do you have a recipe for phyllo sheets with whole wheat flour?
Hello Anca; I really think you will be pleased with this recipe; it’s everything that you’ve mentioned. You could cut the phyllo sheets into strips and layer several of them the way I describe in this recipe, roll them to fit in a muffin tin and bake them. The store bought phyllo sheets have always worked for me but I’ve never seen whole wheat ones.
This was the best. Everybody loved it. I decided to make baklava during these days of quarantine since I cannot go to my favorite bakery and I found your recipe. Thank you! This is my favorite website to look for recipes now.
Hi Maryam jan, I’m thrilled that my recipe made these days a little sweeter for all of you! Thanks so much for writing to me and hope to hear from you when you try my other recipes. My regards to all of you. Please take care and stay safe my dear 🙂
Anna A says
Thank you! This is the best bakhlava recipe! I absolutely love it! The only difference I made I used salted sunflower seeds instead of almonds and walnuts and added more lemon juice to the syrop instead of rose water. And it was good too.
Thank you again!
Hi Anna, thanks very much! I’m glad this recipe has been a success for you. The changes that you’ve made are very unique and sound delicious. I can just imagine the salty and sweet combo in this flaky pastry. Thanks so much for writing to me! Please keep in touch 🙂
Hi Homa jan,
I am a Hungarian lady married to an amazing persian man. This year I planned to put on our Nowruz table my own home made baklava so that I have been searching for the recipe on the internet when luckily found your blog.
Following your instructions we prepared yesterday this dessert and the result is unbelievable. This baklava taste amazing! I am truly grateful for you for sharing this recipe with us.
Hello Barbara jan, it is so nice to meet you here! I love that my baklava was a part of your Nowruz celebration, thanks for letting me know! Noosh-e joon and much love to all of you. Wishing you a healthy and happy New Year
Thanks so much for the detailed recipe. Is sweet butter the same as unsalted butter?
Thanks Maryam jon! Yes it is the same.
Please keep in touch and have a great weekend!