Greek Baklava

This Greek baklava, a Middle-Eastern dessert, is made from layers of phyllo or filo pastry which is filled with chopped walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, and butter and soaked in a honey syrup.

Triangular piece of Greek baklava, with layers of filo or phyllo dough filled with chopped walnuts, drizzled with honey on a black plate

One of my most memorable experiences ever is walking along a back street in a Greek town decades ago and following an aroma of intoxicating sweetness until I happened upon its origins. There at the house with an open door was a frail and wrinkled grandmother hauling sheet pans of baklava out of the oven. Needless to say the crackly shards of phyllo drenched with honey was the best baklava I’d ever experienced. This recipe may not be hers, and it may not transport you to the Greek isles, but it will satiate something deep in your soul. Originally published April 24, 2004.Renee Schettler Rossi

Greek Baklava

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Makes 16 to 18 1 1/2-inch pieces
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Ingredients

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  • For the syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • For the filling
  • 2 cups walnuts, finely chopped but not pulverized
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (8 oz), melted
  • For the pastry
  • 1/2 pound phyllo dough

Directions

  • Make the syrup
  • 1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened and reduced, about 12 minutes. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use. (The syrup should be at room temperature and still pourable when ready to use; if cooled too much, reheat slightly.)
  • Make the filling
  • 2. In a bowl, mix together the walnuts, cinnamon, and sugar. Set aside.
  • Make the baklava
  • 3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with some of the butter.
  • 4. Place a layer of phyllo in the bottom of the dish, cover with another layer, and brush the top with butter. Add another layer (2 sheets), brushing the top with butter, and then another layer, brushing the top with butter, until you have a stack 6 sheets high. Spread 1/3 of the filling evenly over the phyllo.
  • 5. Layer and butter another 6 sheets in the same way. Spread another 1/3 of the filling over it. Layer and butter another 6 sheets in the same way and spread with the final third of the filling, so that you wind up with 3 nut layers.
  • 6. Top the final nut layer with the remaining 6 fillo sheets, buttering every other one as above. Finally, brush the top layer of fillo with butter.
  • 7. With a sharp knife, cut through all the layers down to the bottom of the dish, making 16 to 18 diamond or 1 1/2-inch square sections. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Pour the remaining butter across the top and continue baking until pale golden and crispy, about 25 minutes.
  • 8. Remove and set aside for 5 minutes, until no longer sizzling. While still warm, tilt the pan and pour off the excess butter. Pour the syrup in between the cuts and around the edges of the sections, taking care to avoid the top or else it will get soggy. Set aside at room temperature until completely cool.
  • 9. To serve, lift out the pieces as outlined. Serve right away or cover and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Recipe Testers Reviews

Having been spoiled and awed by countless Turkish friends’ excellent baklava, I never thought that I would attempt it myself. This recipe for Greek baklava was so easy and such a gratifying experience, and the baklava was great! Textures of crunchy and chewy are mellowed by a thick, sweet syrup that only got better as it aged.

I really enjoyed this recipe. It took a day for the flavors to meld to make it taste of authentic baklava. It was extremely easy and sinfully tasty.

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Comments

  1. Hello,
    I want to try this recipe but i have a small problem. My phyllo dough package is (250g / ~ 0.55 lb ) and holds ten sheets (30cm by 30cm / ~11.81 by ~11.81 inches). I am wondering if i should just double the recipe to have at least 20 sheets or if i should try to half the sheets to get 20 sheets of ( 15cm by 30cm /~6 inch by ~ 11.81 inch) or if there is a typo in the recipe and it should be 1 lb as the weight of the 24 sheets? I hope my question is intelligible and that someone is able to answer. Thank you in advance!

    1. B., in the States, our sheets tend to be 14 x 18 inches (35.56 cm x 45.72 cm), with around 24 sheets per box. When you halve that by cutting the sheets into 14 x 9-inch pieces, you have enough. I wouldn’t double the recipe; I would just buy more phyllo to make sure you have four layers with three sheets each.

      1. hi David,

        Thanks for the fast reply. it seems your dough is then a lot thinner than ours here in Germany is if you have bigger sheets, more than twice the amount of sheets, and all that with only 1/2 lb weight. but my problem kind of remains because my sides of the dough are only about 12 inches. if i halve them i am at about 6 by 6 in. a far cry from your 14by 9 in. i am not an experienced baker so it is hard for me to adapt recipes. i am sorry, thanks for your help.

        1. b, not a problem. All you need to do is “patch” the phyllo in each layer. It can overlap a bit. What’s important is you have the four layers with three sheets (patched together). It seems as if you’ll need to buy another package to do it. But it’s simple!

          1. hello David, thanks again for your answer. I fudged all the way through the recipe and now have four layers, each five sheets high. because my dough was 500g (1.1 lb) and my baking dish also was bigger, i doubled all other ingredients and used how much i hoped was right of each. it looks good and one family member said it tastes good so we will see tomorrow at a family birthday how it tastes after it had a chance to settle. maybe someday the stars will align and i will have the right dish and the right dough sheets, or with more experience be able to convert everything. i am very happy to have found your site and am excited to try the next recipe. thanks again very much! Oh, i doubled the amounts just to be safe not to disregard your advice!

              1. thank you. i was very pleased with the look too. when i try again i will try to get the hight ( through more layers) and the airiness i was missing this time. i think i should not place them so straight and tight but try to get more air in between and maybe use less butter so the syrup has more chance to soak in.

                thanks again :)

                  1. hi david, i now had a chance to try the baklava on the day it was made and over the following days. i have to say on the third day, after it had two days to settle, the taste was rounder as in one taste and not the different things i could taste before individually (butter, nuts, honey). so next time i also will make it two or three days ahead. :)

  2. I make this recipe every year for Christmas and have for almost 10 years. It’s the most amazing treat to get/give for Christmas (or anytime) and I get so many compliments on it. Such a wonderful recipe – I come back year after year!

    1. Amy, lovely to be reminded that this makes a perfect Christmas gift! Thank you for that! And for taking the time to let us know. We so appreciate it! Wishing you and yours all the magic—and sweets—of the season…

  3. Wow! I didn’t expect to see my husband’s favorite dessert here! Baklava! We have some in the house right now, as he took some to go after we finished our Moussaka at a Greek restaurant. I wonder how surprised he would be if I actually made this myself! I have never made Baklava in my life, but it doesn’t look too difficult! I’ll let you know when I try.

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