Traditional Greek Baklava - TheLadyChef

Traditional Greek Baklava

greek baklava recipe

When you are in the mood to try some classic Greek desserts recipes, Baklava would be a must on your menu. Although Turks also claim Baklava and Galaktoboureko to be their traditional desert, the origins of it are found to be from ancient Greece, when the desert was known as “Gastrin”. So for all those sweet tooths out there, here is an easy peasy Baklava recipe for you to try.

Baklava is not too complicated, you just need to have the right ingredients in the right proportion, and the right skills to create the magic. It is composed of layers and layers of phyllo sheets filled with butter, nuts, and sugar mixture dripping in sweet, sugary syrup. Most recipes state to use only walnuts, but in my recipe, I have used almonds as well. The trick lies in its assembling, but once you have mastered the skill, this might be your next on-the-go dessert.

Ingredient Notes For Making A Perfect Baklava

Phyllo sheets

Phyllo is the typical pastry sheet that we used in our everyday baking. You can make your phyllo dough at home as well, but prepared Phyllo sheets are easily available in the market, and using them is very feasible. Phyllo sheets are dry and fragile, they tend to break during use. The trick is to butter them generously and handle them carefully during assembling to prevent breaking down.

assembling nuts over phyllo sheets for greek baklava

Nuts

The classic Baklava is made up of roasted and ground walnuts. But you can add any and as many up to your taste. Some recipes feature pistachios, hazelnuts, and pecans along with walnuts, but my recipe has almonds. Roast the nuts before using. In my recipe, I have also used Belvita cookies of brown sugar and cinnamon flavor. They texturize the filling and contribute to the nutty taste of Baklava. You can make Baklava with a filling only and skip the cookies.

 Butter

And I mean, lots and lots of butter. After all, Baklava is a sweet, indulging dessert that is meant to be hearty. And the phyllo sheets need a lot of butter to keep them soft and prevent them from baking. Keep the butter at room temperature for a while before using it. Use unsweetened butter preferably.

pouring sugar syrup over baklava

The sugar syrup

Honey and sugar syrup, flavored with cinnamon, lemon zest, and cloves. The syrup gives a rich, sweet yet spicy flavor to the baklava and keeps the baked dessert moist and soft. Add a bit of vanilla essence during cooking. Do not overcook the sugar and honey mixture, and make sure to remove the cinnamon, cloves, and lemon zest before pouring the syrup over the baked baklava.

Tips to make the best Greek Baklava

  • Use the phyllo sheets very carefully. Since they are very delicate, dry, and tend to break, it is best to thaw them before use. Put the pack of phyllo sheets in the refrigerator for 10 to 12 hours before use. While using, remove the sheet carefully from the packaging and place it in between two kitchen towels. This will make it easy to use.
  • Prepare the honey and sugar syrup ahead of time and allow ample time to let it cool. The freshly baked Baklava will absorb cool honey syrup much better and will taste best. However, if the syrup goes too thick, pour just a bit of water and heat for a while. Cool before using.
  • The Turkish version of Baklava has pistachio in it, so if you want that classic Greek taste, use walnuts only, or with some almonds/pecans.
  • Always cut the assembled baklava into your desired shape i.e. square or triangle. If you will cut it after baking, the crispy pastry sheet will tend to break and get all crumbly.

Storing the Baklava

The best thing about Baklava is that you can make it ahead of time and store it.

  • The baklava can remain fresh if you keep it in an airtight container and store it in a refrigerator or at room temperature. It stays good for 2 weeks. The refrigerator might keep it good for a long, but at room temperature, it stays crispy for longer.
  • You can also freeze your baked baklava in a freezer to store it for as long as 4 months. I would advise storing it in small batches so that it becomes easy to thaw. You can thaw it at room temperature for a few hours or keep it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Discard the baklava if you notice it drying out or becoming extremely soggy.

How to make Traditional Greek Baklava

Preparing the filling

Phyllo sheets and nuts for Baklava
  • Before starting, preheat your oven to 374 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use the large bowl of your food processor. Add the walnuts and almonds to it. Adding Belvita Cookies of brown sugar and cinnamon flavor is optional. But I always use it to make the taste and texture even better. Add ¼ tsp cinnamon powder, ¼ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground cloves, and 1 tbsp. sugar. The spices give a perfect flavor blend with nuts and phyllo sheet for a sweet and spicy punch. Process the ingredients but be sure not to make it powdery.
  • Add butter and process it once again to combine all the ingredients well. The filling is ready.
  • Prepare a 9 x 13 size baking dish. Grease it with butter generously.

Assembling the Baklava

Preparing the phyllo sheets for greek baklava
  • I have used two of the pre-pack boxes of 7-number phyllo sheets. There are a total of 24 sheets. Carefully take out each sheet and make 3 sets of 8 sheets each.
  • Start layering. Set the first sheet in the baking tray. Place it properly and let the sides hang. Melt the butter for phyllo and spread generously. Top with another layer of phyllo and butter it too. Repeat with the first set.
  • When the first 8 sheets are layered, spread the butter and then spread half of the nut filling.
  • Start layering the second set of phyllo. Be sure to generously spread butter or else the phyllo will dry out or will tend to break. Spread the remaining half of the nut mixture on top of the 8th layer of the 2nd set. Repeat with the third and final set and butter the topmost layer generously.
cutting phyllo sheets of baklava
  • Cut out any hanging phyllo sheets. Use a sharp knife and tuck in any leftover sheet inside the baking pan. Neaten the sides.
  • Using the same sharp knife, cut the assembled baklava into the shape you desire. Traditionally, it is either in squares or triangles, but if you have a round pan, you can also cut it into a diamond shape. In my recipe, I have cut the Baklava into the 12 squares first and then cut them up into triangles, making a total of 24 triangular pieces.
cutting greek baklava
  • Place a clove on top of each triangular piece so that the pastry layers stay set in place.
  • Finally, set the baking pan in the oven and bake for almost 30 to 45 minutes. Our goal is to achieve a nice, crispy golden top, so you can check in between and adjust the baking time.

Making the honey and sugar syrup

preparing sugar syrup for baklava
  • As your Baklava is being baked, you can prepare the honey sugar syrup. In a pan, add water, honey, sugar, cinnamon, lemon peel, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Place the pan on medium heat.
  • Warm it up until the sugar melts and the syrup is just the right consistency. If it gets too thick, add a bit of water. If it is thin, add honey.
  • Do not overcook the syrup. Remove from heat and carefully remove the lemon zest, cinnamon, and cloves. Allow it to cool. 
Greek Baklava ready to be served in dish

Setting the baklava

  • When the baklava is baked, remove it from the oven and place it at room temperature to cool down for a while.
  • Pour the cool honey syrup over the baklava so that it is spread evenly and starts dripping at the sides inside the baking pan.
  • Let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours so that the baklava is cooled down completely. Serve.
Greek Baklava ready to be served

Ingredients

For Baklava

  • 2 boxes of phyllo sheets no.7 (24 sheets)
  • 2 sticks butter (for phyllo)
  • 4 tbsp. melted butter
  • 3 cups walnuts (roasted)
  • 3 cups almonds ( roasted)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 24 whole cloves
  • 1 pack Belvita Cookies of brown sugar cinnamon flavor

For syrup

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 medium cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • Lemon peel

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the origins of Baklava

Baklava is a traditional dessert made up of pastry, nuts, and sugar syrup. Although it is most often associated with Greek cuisine, the modern baklava might have originated in Turkey during the rise of the Ottoman empire. The Turkish version includes pistachios rather than walnuts (which are found in the Greek version). The Greek Baklava has more of a spiced flavor of cinnamon and cloves, while the Turkish one has no spice content.

Is Baklava high in sugar?

Yes! The fact that Baklava is prepared with phyllo sheets, which is a carb and converts to sugar in the body, makes it a high-sugar dessert. It is then drenched in sugar syrup which quickly raises the blood sugar levels. Therefore, it should be consumed in moderate amounts. Diabetics, obese patients, and people with cardiac issues should consult medical professionals before consumption of this dessert.

Should Baklava be eaten hot or cold?

The traditional Greek Baklava is served with ice cream, so it is consumed at room temperature. This keeps it fresh and crispy. Refrigeration might make Baklava a bit soggy, especially when stored for a long time.

How should I store leftover Baklava?

You can easily keep Baklava at room temperature because it has a long shelf life. Store it in an airtight container for as long as two weeks. You can also refrigerate it, but it might make the dessert soggy. You can also freeze small batches of baked baklava in the freezer for up to 4 months. To thaw, simply put it in the refrigerator overnight or keep it at room temperature for a few hours.

greek baklava recipe

Traditional Greek Baklava

Adalynn Ward
For this holiday season, try this classic, baked Traditional Greek baklava for your family meals and celebrations and mark a great addition to your party menu.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 1 baklawa

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes phyllo sheets no.7 (24sheets)
  • 2 sticks butter (forphyllo)
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 3 cups walnuts (roasted)
  • 3 cups almonds ( roasted)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 24 whole cloves
  • 1 pack Belvita Cookies of brownsugar cinnamon flavor

For syrup

  • 3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 medium cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • Lemon peel

How to Make?
 

For filling

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In the large food processor bowl, add all the nuts, spices, sugar, and cookies. Pour in the melted butter and blend until everything is combined well and appears like a fine crumble.
  • Melt the butter for phyllo. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Assembling and baking

  • Divide the phyllo sheets into sets of 8s.
  • Place one sheet on the base of the pan so that it covers the sides and hangs out. Butter the layer generously. Repeat with the first set of 8 sheets. Spread butter evenly and generously over each layer.
  • When the 1st set is complete, spread half of the nut mixture on the top layer.
  • Add another layer of phyllo, layer with butter, repeat with the set and then spread the nut mixture. Repeat the process until phyllo sheets are used up.
  • Layer with butter on the topmost phyllo layer.
  • With the help of a sharp knife, trim all the excess edges hanging off and neaten the sides by tucking in the sheet inside the baking dish.
  • Cut the assembled phyllo into 12 squares, and then cut them into 24 triangles. Place a clove at the top of each triangle.
  • Set in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a nice golden top is achieved.

Making the syrup

  • Add all the ingredients of the syrup in a saucepan and place it on medium flame. Heat it until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Remove the cinnamon sticks, clove, and lemon peel. Discard.

Setting the baklava

  • When baked, remove the baklava from the oven and let it cool at room temperature for a while.
  • Reheat the syrup for a while. Pour over the entire pan of baklava so that it spreads evenly and drizzles from between the sides of the pan.
  • Let the baklava rest for another 2 hours so that the syrup is absorbed completely.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece (75g)Calories: 356kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 6gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3.7gSodium: 137mgSugar: 21g
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Adalynn Ward
Hello!! My name is Adalynn I love to eat, travel, and eat some more! I am married to the man of my dreams and have a beautiful little girl whose smiles can brighten anyone’s day!