Baklava is a Middle Eastern and Eastern European dessert made by layering sheets of phyllo with chopped nuts and soaking the pastry with a sweetened syrup. This recipe is for a Turkish variation of baklava, three layers of buttered phyllo surrounding two layers of pistachios.
Each sheet of phyllo is buttered as it is laid in the baking dish. You can use 1 pound of clarified butter (ghee) or heat unsalted butter and remove the top foamy, whitish layer to clarify it yourself. If you use unsalted butter, you may need about 1 extra stick (1/2 cup) of butter.
I used 2 (9×13″) baking dishes. My phyllo sheets came in a long 18×14″ roll, so I cut them in half to fit. When you are working with each sheet, cover the rest with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out. Dried out phyllo is nearly impossible to work with.
The syrup should be completely cooled when pouring over the hot baklava. It helps to pour the syrup into another bowl and refrigerate to cool faster while putting together the rest of the baklava.
This dish takes a bit of time to put together and rests in the refrigerator overnight, but it makes a lot of baklava and is perfect for feeding a crowd.
Adapted from Turkish Food Passion
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 pound clarified butter
- 1 pound Phyllo
- 3 cups unsalted and shelled pistachios chopped
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup unsalted and shelled pistachios ground
- In a saucepan, add sugar and water. Heat over medium heat, whisking often, until sugar dissolves. Whisk in honey and lemon juice. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl, add butter and microwave until melted, about 1 minute. Lightly brush an 18x14" or 2 9x13" baking dishes with melted butter.
- In a medium bowl, combine the chopped pistachios with powdered sugar.
- Roll out the phullo sheets. If using 2 9x13" baking dishes, cut the 18x14" long phyllo sheets in half to fit the pans. Cover the phyllo with a damp kitchen towel.
- Place one sheet on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Brush the sheet with butter. Repeat to create a layer with 8-9 sheets, brushing butter between each sheet. If using an 18x14" baking dish, evenly spread 1 1/2 cups chopped pistachios over the phyllo. Add 3/4 cup chopped pistachios if using a 9x13" dish.
- Place a phyllo sheet over the pistachio layer. Brush with butter. Repeat to create a layer with 8-9 sheets. Add another 1 1/2 cup layer of pistachios for an 18x14" dish or 3/4 cup for a 9x13" dish.
- Place another phyllo sheet over the second layer of pistachios. Brush with butter and repeat to create a layer with 8-9 buttered phyllo sheets. Brush the top with butter. Cut the layered phyllo diagonally 2 inches apart each way to create diamond shaped pieces.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Place baklava in preheated oven and bake until top is golden, 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and cover immediately with the cooled syrup (half if using a 9x13" dish). Place ground pistachios on top of each piece. Cover and refrigerate overnight.