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Honey Baklava Recipe

Layers of flaky phyllo, pistachios, walnuts and a sweet honey lemon syrup poured over the while hot.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 48 pieces
Author: Tricia

Ingredients

For the honey syrup:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups honey
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the nut filling:

  • 12 ounces shelled unsalted pistachios, plus more for garnish
  • 12 ounces walnut halves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the layers:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks) melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 1/2 pounds frozen phyllo, thawed

Instructions

Tools you will need to make the Baklava:

  • a soft pastry brush to brush on the melted butter;
  • one large sheet of plastic wrap to cover the phyllo;
  • a clean damp tea towel to cover the phyllo to prevent it from drying out;
  • a food processor to grind the nuts;
  • a sharp chef’s knife to cut the phyllo into a round and to cut Baklava into diamonds. A super sharp paring knife will work well too.
  • a large cutting board to cut the phyllo.

To prepare the honey syrup:

  • Combine the honey syrup ingredients in a deep medium saucepan. Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. (Don’t walk away as it may boil over!) Reduce heat to medium low and simmer without stirring, for 5 minutes, but watch it carefully. Remove from the heat and cool for slightly. Pour into a measuring cup with a spout and cool completely. The honey syrup can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 4 days.

To prepare the nut filling:

  • Pulse the pistachios in the food processor until very finely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses. Pour the pistachios into a medium bowl. Pulse the walnuts in the food processor until very finely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses. Add the walnuts to the bowl with the pistachios. Add the cinnamon, sugar and salt to the nuts and mix well to combine.

To assemble and bake the baklava:

  • Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Brush a 12-inch round baking pan with the melted butter. Set aside.
  • Carefully unfold the phyllo onto a large cutting board. Gently smooth out the phyllo with your hands to flatten. Place the baking pan on top of the phyllo stack. Using the pan as a guide, cut the stack of phyllo to fit the pan. You will need about 30 round sheets of phyllo for this recipe. Cover the phyllo with plastic wrap, then a damp kitchen towel to prevent drying. Set aside.

The breakdown of the layers:

  • 8 sheets phyllo
    1/3 of the nut mixture (about 1 2/3 cup)
    6 sheets phyllo
    1/2 of the remaining nut mixture (about 1 1/2 cups)
    6 sheets phyllo
    All the remaining nut mixture (about 1 1/2 cups)
    8 - 10 sheets phyllo
  • I recommend keeping a pencil close by to keep track of the phyllo. If you get interrupted, the phone rings or the dogs need out, it’s easy to lose track of how many layers you have already buttered and put in place.

Assembling the baklava:

  • Place one phyllo sheet in the bottom of the baking pan and brush with butter until completely covered. Repeat with 7 more phyllo sheets brushing each with butter. Make sure there are no large bubbles of air trapped under the phyllo. The air bubbles can be smoothed out with the pastry brush easily.
  • Distribute 1/3 of the nut mixture over the phyllo. Cover the nuts with another sheet of phyllo. Drizzle with butter instead of brushing as the phyllo will slip and move if you use pressure. Dab the butter around to cover the first sheet. Repeat with 5 more phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter.
  • Layer 1/2 of the remaining nut mixture over the phyllo, then repeat with 6 sheets of phyllo and butter, and then the last of the nuts. Finish the stack with 8 or 10 sheets of the phyllo, brushing all but the final sheet with butter.
  • Using the palms of your hands, gently compress the layers, starting in the center and working outward to remove any air pockets. Spoon about 4 tablespoons butter on the top layer and brush to cover the entire surface.
  • Using a sharp chef’s knife with a pointed tip, cut the baklava into 4 equal wedges, then each wedge in half to form a total of 8. Working within one wedge at a time, make two straight cuts, 1 inch apart, parallel to one side of wedge. Make two more cuts, parallel to opposite side of same wedge, creating a diamond pattern. Repeat process in remaining 7 wedges. See photos for help - it’s a visual thing.
  • Bake until golden and crisp, about 1 1/2 hours, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Immediately after removing the baklava from the oven, slowly pour the cooled honey syrup over the cut lines until about 1/2 cup remains. Drizzle remaining syrup over the surface. Sprinkle each piece with a pinch of ground pistachios or walnuts. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, about 4 hours. Cover with foil and let stand at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight before serving. The flavor improves after resting overnight but is ready to serve once cooled.
  • Baklava can be wrapped tightly in foil and kept at room temperature up to 10 days.

Notes

TIPS: For this recipe I used a 12-inch round cake pan. Cutting the phyllo into round sheets causes more waste of phyllo than using a rectangular pan. If you prefer, use a traditional straight-sided metal 13 by 9-inch baking pan. If you use the 13 by 9-inch pan, reduce the pistachios to 8 ounces, the walnuts to 8 ounces and the phyllo to 1 pound. DO NOT use a non-stick baking pan as it will be marred when the baklava is cut. A glass pan will work fine if you don’t have a metal (NOT NONSTICK) pan. Also if making the smaller pan of baklava, reduce the honey syrup to: 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup of water, 1 cup honey 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
 
Inspired by several recipes with the basic instructions adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.