Honey Nut Baklava

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  • I know what you are about to do. You are going to scroll on down to that recipe, see how long it is and immediately abort the mission and just buy some baklava at the store. STOP. DON’T DO IT.

    overhead of baklava with nut topping

    When I tell you that homemade baklava is SO much better than anything you can buy, I’m not joking. And when you take a quick glance at those instructions, don’t be panicked. Because so many folks felt intimidated to make their own included some extremely detailed instructions and tips.

    You’ll feel like I am on your shoulder reading them to you… in a non-creepy way, of course.

    spatula holding slice of baklava

    BEST Baklava Recipe

    Yes, I just called it the best, but no, I won’t claim it as “THE” best. And I’ll tell you why, because clearly I am not Greek.

    pan of honey nut baklava

    But I did live in Greektown for a number of years (I realize this alone does not qualify me) and through that time I got to know the owners of all the Greek joints.

    close up angle of sliced honey baklava

    I tried their house baklava, talked to them at the bar about their families and family recipes. And in the end, I mashed up all of their tips, tricks and ingredients to one master recipe for baklava.

    So to all my Greek baklava purists, those who have a family story to tell and also want to tell me how this is not an authentic baklava recipe, I welcome you to leave your comments below. I do really want to hear them!

    side shot of layered baklava

    Ingredients

    So there are basically three main components to any baklava: the baklava itself which consists of layers of pastry with filling in between, the honey sauce that you pour over it, and then the crunchy walnut topping on top.

    Greek dessert on a plate

    Here is what you will need:

    • phyllo dough
    • unsalted butter
    • walnuts
    • pecans
    • cinnamon
    • nutmeg
    • sugar
    • lemon juice
    • vanilla
    • honey

    How to Make Baklava

    Take a deep breath and know this… and this is the most important part of making baklava: IT IS OKAY IF ONE OF YOUR PHYLLO DOUGH SHEETS TEARS. Do not panic.

    You will first need to start by thawing the phyllo dough. Just follow the package instrustions for this, and make sure you thaw both rolls (most packages have two rolls packaged separately.

    sheets of phyllo dough cut in half

    Next, trim all of the dough to 9×13 to fit into your baking dish. For most boxes this simply means cutting it in half to two 10×13 sheets. It is okay if the sides curl up a little.

    Cover sheets with with a damp towel to keep them from drying out. Next, make the topping…

    Making the Honey Topping

    Now onto the honey syrup. Combine the sugar, honey, lemon juice, vanilla and water into a medium saucepan. Bring that to a low simmer, allowing the sugar to dissolve without burning. Make sure to stir continuously.

    making baklava topping

    After the sugar is fully dissolved, reduce to the lowest heat possible and allow to simmer for five more minutes without stirring at all. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool at room temperature.

    And then the filling…

    Baklava Filling

    First you need to pulse the walnuts and pecans in a food processor until they are finely chopped. If you don’t have a food processor, you can certainly do this by hand. But it is significantly easier in a food processor, as it only takes about 10-15 pulses.

    baklava filling on phyllo sheets

    Next, combine those chopped nuts with the ground cinnamon and nutmeg. And that’s it! This will make up that crunchy filling we all know and love.

    And now put it all together…

    Assembling the Baklava

    Place 10 phyllo sheets into a greased baking pan one at a time, brushing each sheet with melted butter. This is a little time consuming and don’t be worried if the sheets tear. After they are all assembled and cut, no one will know.

    how to make baklava

    Top the first layer of 10 sheets with ¾ cup of the nut mixture (about 1/5). Then top with 5 more sheets of phyllo dough. Repeat this 4 more times ending with another 10 sheets of phyllo dough on top. Make sure to baste with butter between each layer of phyllo dough.

    This is the pattern:

    • 10 phyllo sheets
    • 3/4 cup nuts
    • 5 phyllo sheets
    • 3/4 cup nuts
    • 5 phyllo sheets
    • 3/4 cup nuts
    • 5 phyllo sheets
    • 3/4 cup nuts
    • 5 phyllo sheets
    • 3/4 cup nuts
    • 10 buttered phyllo sheets

    And finally you cut it…

    How to Cut Baklava

    The trick to perfect baklava is to cut it before you bake it rather than waiting until after. If you cut it after, the pastry will crumble and you’ll lose half of it to the process. Cut baklava into 1 ½ inch strips, then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes.

    how to cut baklava

    Once you’ve cut it, bake it for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until tops are golden brown. If it looks to be browning too fast, cover the top loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil.

    Then remove the baked baklava and pour the honey topping over it while it’s still hot. It will seep into all the nooks and crannies. Then top with remaining chopped walnuts while still tacky.

    You can brush the top with it too if it gets too thick to pour well. If the pastry is still hot, it will help it to sink down in.

    served baklava slices with coffee

    Let baklava cool completely, uncovered and at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours, but maximum of 12 before serving.

    After honey topping has set, top with a light sprinkle of fleur de sel, which is totally optional. I find salt brings out the rest of the flavors.

    fork eating baklava

    Storage and Freezing

    Store your baklava covered at room temperature. If you are making ahead of time, top with a damp (NOT WET) tea towel to keep it moist. Baklava is best served within 1-2 days of baking.

    side shot of baklava

    However, you can freeze baklava for up to 3 months by tightly wrapping the dish in several layers of plastic wrap and placing into the freezer. To thaw, sit it at room temperature for several hours.

    honey nut baklava for pinterest

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    Easy Apple Cream Cheese Strudel
    Easy Apple Cream Cheese Strudel Recipe- a twist of apple pie and apple crisp, this super simple dessert recipe uses cream cheese, puff pastry, almonds and apple pie filling in a lovely braid. www.savoryexperiments.com
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    tray of homemade baklava for pinterest

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    close up of baklava slices
    Print Recipe
    4.63 from 8 votes

    Honey Nut Baklava

    With delicate layers of pastry, a slightly crunchy nutty filling and a sweet honey sauce, this is the BEST traditional Baklava recipe!
    Prep Time30 mins
    Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
    Cooling/Setting Time1 hr
    Total Time2 hrs 40 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
    Keyword: baklava, homemade baklava
    Servings: 16
    Calories: 497kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola

    Ingredients

    Baklava:

    Honey Topping:

    Walnut Topping:

    • ¼ cup walnuts , chopped
    • Sprinkle of fleur de sel

    Instructions

    • Thaw phyllo dough by package instructions, you’ll need both rolls as most packages have two rolls separately packaged.
    • Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
    • Unfold the sheet to a 20×26 size and cut in half making 2 9(ish)x13 portions. You can trim one stack at a time (or less) then cover with a damp towel to keep from drying out.
      sheets of pastry dough

    Honey Topping:

    • In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, honey, lemon juice, vanilla and water. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat while continually stirring. The trick is allowing the sugar to dissolves without burning. If it hasn’t dissolved, but it getting super thick, add 1 tablespoons water.
      honey sauce for baklava
    • After it dissolves, reduce to the lowest heat possible and allow to summer for 15 minutes without stirring at all.
    • Remove from heat, set aside and let honey sauce cool. Keep at room temperature until ready to pour. It should thicken and be like syrup.

    Assemble the Baklava:

    • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    • Pulse walnuts and pecans in a food processor until finely chopped. Alternately, you can do this by hand, but in a food processor it only takes about 10-15 pulses.
    • Combine chopped nuts with ground cinnamon and nutmeg.
    • Place 10 phyllo sheets into baking pan one at a time, brushing each sheet with melted butter. This is a little time consuming and don’t be worried if the sheets tear. After they are all assembled and cut, no one will know. Keep remaining phyllo covered with a damp towel to prevent drying.
    • Top the first layer with ¾ cup nut mixture (about 1/5). Top with 5 sheets phyllo dough. Repeat this 4 more times ending with another 10 sheets of phyllo dough on top, making sure to baste with butter between each layer of phyllo dough. The end result is:10 phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nuts 5 phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nuts 5 phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nuts 5 phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nuts 5 phyllo sheets, 3/4 cup nuts 10 buttered phyllo sheets
    • The trick to perfect baklava is to cut it before you bake it rather than waiting until after. If you cut it after, the pastry will crumble and you’ll lose half of it to the process. Cut baklava into 1 ½ inch strips, then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes.

    Bake

    • Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or until tops are golden brown. If it looks to be browning too fast, cover the top loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil.

    Topping

    • Remove from oven and pour honey topping over while still hot. It will seep into all the nooks and crannies. Then top with remaining chopped walnuts while still tacky.
    • Let baklava cool completely, uncovered and at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours, but maximum of 12 before serving.
    • After honey topping has set, top with a light sprinkle of fleur de sel, which is totally optional. I find salt brings out the rest of the flavors.
    • Store covered at room temperature. If making ahead, top with a damp (NOT WET) tea towel to keep moist. Baklava is best served within 1-2 days of baking.
    • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!

    Notes

    You can top your baklava with melted milk chocolate, white chocolate or a combination of both.
    To freeze: You can freeze baklava for up to 3 months by tightly wrapping the dish in several layers of plastic wrap and placing into the freezer. To thaw, sit at room temperature for several hours. Do not microwave or reheat in the heat.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 497kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 140mg | Potassium: 159mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 451IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg

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