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Turkish Baklava

Last month I had the good fortune to attend a Turkish cooking class that was hosted by a lady from our mosque.  I’ve adored the food of Greece and Turkey since I visited over 10 years ago (wow I’m getting old!).  I’ve never met someone who dislikes baklava, a staple treat in the region.  I’m ashamed to say I had never attempted to make it, though I do have an aunt who makes this dish extremely well.  I know so many people that are intimidated by this dish but really – don’t be!  It’s very easy to make.

Syrup Ingredients

  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • optional 1 tsp rose or orange blossom water

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over low to medium heat. Add the lemon juice and boil about ten minutes or until dissolved. Before removing from heat, add optional water flavorings and let it come to a boil.  Set aside to cool.

Pastry Ingredients:

  • 1 package Filo dough
  • 2 c chopped walnuts or almonds
  • 1 c chopped pistachios
  • 1 lb butter unsalted – melted


To start grease a round or square pan with butter – it needs to be coated in butter or it will all stick to the bottom and sides.  Then start laying down strips of phyllo.  If the sheets rip don’t worry.  You’ll want to make between 5 to 7 layers of phyllo.  You do not need to butter between layers.



Next sprinkle a layer of nuts very generously over the entire surface. You can use one more types of nuts.  Drizzle this layer with some of the melted butter.  Begin adding more phyllo dough to create 5 to 7 more layers.



Tuck the edges of the phyllo in and use a brush to cover the top of the baklava generously.  Score the pastry before baking.  This will help when the pastry is done and will ensure that the syrup seeps into all areas of the baklava.  Add the remaining nuts to the top of the dough.



Bake at 300F until golden brown for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the cold syrup over each piece until saturated. Set aside for an hour to cool and absorb the syrup. Enjoy!

We learned another way to shape the baklava to make a cookie as well – but that’s for another post….

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