Updated: Nov 28, 2020
Happy national baklava day! This is such a delicious treat to enjoy. Nuts and dried fruit layered between buttery phyllo pastry. I tried to use slightly less sugar and butter, to make it a tad healthier. But honestly this isn't meant to be healthy, this is a treat! What makes it is the sugar and butteriness.
I box phyllo pastry, room temperature
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/4 cup pistachios
2 cups walnuts
1 cup dates, pitted (10)
1 tsp cinnamon
zest 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 325˙F.
Defrost phyllo according to package directions. I bought mine the same day I used it, I left it to defrost on the counter and it was perfect.
For the syrup, combine all ingredients in sauce pot. Bring to a boil and the immediately lower to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside and allow too cool. It will thicken up as it cools.
For the filling, pulse nuts & dates in a food processor until coarsely ground. Place in bowl and mix in cinnamon and lemon zest. Divide into 4 equal portions and set aside.
Trim phyllo dough to fit your baking sheet, I was able to cut mine directly in half. It was slightly smaller then my baking sheet but it worked out well. Ensure you keep covered with a damp towel while you are working to keep phyllo from drying out. You will need 40 sheets.
Place parchment paper onto baking sheet and brush with butter. Layer 10 pieces of phyllo one at a time, brushing each one with butter before layering the next one on top. Place 1 portion of the nut mix on top of the 10th phyllo sheet. Make sure it is an even layer.
Add 5 more sheets of phyllo (individually layered & brushed with butter). Place another portion of nut mix evenly on top. Repeat this step 2 more times. Finish off with 10 layers of buttered phyllo layers. Brush the final top layer with butter.
Cut pastry into 1 1/2 inch wide strips (lengthwise). Then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes. *Very important to cut before you bake, it is very difficult to do this step after its baked*
Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes until top is a nice golden brown colour. Immediately after removing from the oven, spoon syrup mixture over top of hot baklava (it will sizzle, that is normal). Let cool fully at room temperature. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
The hardest part of this recipe is really just taking the time to do all the layers properly. The most important step in my opinion is picking your phyllo pastry, make sure the brand you are getting is good, the box is in good shape (doesn't look like its been dropped). It is such a pain if the phyllo is breaking on you.
This has less sugar and butter than most recipes would have, even when making treats I try and limit the amount of butter and sugar. It is still just as tasty!