Traditional Baklava Recipe

Traditional Baklava Recipe

My husband is not a huge fan of sweets. He doesn’t like cake that much and prefers a crispy cookie to a mousse.

One of his favorite desserts is Baklava. He loves the crispy, buttery layers of phylo as well as the chopped nuts.

Every once in awhile we will buy some baklava from the stores but they are always such a disappointment. The layers are no longer crispy, the nuts are mushy and it is usually too sweet.

Here is my recipe. It is easy to make, just takes a little time layering the phylo dough but it really is soooo worth it to make Baklava at home.

Traditional Baklava Recipe


  • 1-lb. “twin pack” phyllo dough (two 8-oz. packs, each containing about twenty 9×14-inch sheets) Thawed

For the nut filling:

  • 1 lb. unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter

For the syrup:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/2 tsp. rose water (or 1 tsp vanilla)
  • 3/4 cups of water



  • Thaw the phyllo. This can either be done overnight in the refrigerator or 2-3 hours out of the box on your kitchen counter. Be sure the bags are closed so the sheets do not dry out.

Make the filling:

  • Put the pistachios, sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom in a food processor and process until the nuts are finely chopped about 15 to 20 seconds. Set aside.


To Assemble the Baklava:

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan or microwave. Brush the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Remove one sheet of phylo and place evenly on the bottom of the pan. Quickly brush layer with melted butter, then place another sheet on top and brush with butter again. Repeat until you have 10 layers down brushing between each layer with melted butter. Do not go overboard with the butter. You will have 40 layers of phylo.
  • Once you have 10 layers down, sprinkle with about 1/3 of the nut mixture.
  • Repeat with 10 more layers of phylo and butter, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the nut mixture.
  • Open the second bag of phylo. Repeat again with 10 layers of phylo and butter, then sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 of the nut mixture.
  • Repeat again with 10 layers of phylo and butter.
  • Refrigerate the uncooked baklava for 30 minutes to harden so it is easier to cut.


Bake the baklava:

  • Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  • Before baking, use a thin, sharp serrated knife and use a gentle sawing motion to cut the baklava on the diagonal at 11/2-inch intervals in a diamond pattern. Try not to compress the pastry by pressing down on it with one hand while cutting with the other. Not only are you cutting serving portions, but you are also allowing the syrup to permeate the pastry. Be sure to cut the pastry all the way to the bottom of the pan.
  • Bake the baklava until golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

Make the syrup:

  • Put the sugar and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the honey and rose water.
  • Pour the syrup evenly over the entire surface of the baklava, allowing it to run down into the cut marks and along the sides of the pan. Allow the baklava to cool to room temperature before serving.
  • Leave Baklava uncovered as it gets soggy when covered up.


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