Baklava, aka Baklawa is a Middle-Eastern dessert whose origins may go as far back as B.C times to the Assyrian civilization. Through the centuries, many neighboring countries adopted the delicacy and created their own versions. Today there are dozens of types of “Baklava” grouped in Lebanese Cuisine under “Arabic Sweets”. In its basic form, Baklava is made of Fillo Dough, nuts, and sugar syrup and in this post, we’re going to feature a simple recipe of walnut Baklava “fingers.”
Baklava Rolls Ingredients (12 servings)
1 pack of Fillo Dough, thawed
1 cup of coarsely grinded walnuts*
1/3 cup of finely grinded pistachio
7 drops of Orange Blossom Essence**
1/3 lb of sweet/unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons of sugar
optional: A tiny hint of nutmeg powder, ground cloves and ground cardamom
* You can substitute walnuts with pine nuts, pistachio, cashew or your favorite nuts ** You can substitute Orange Blossom Essence with twice the quantity of Orange Blossom Water
Baklava Sugar Syrup Ingredients
1 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of Orange Blossom Water
Brush Butter on Fillo Dough
Add Nuts to Fillo Dough
Roll Into a 3/4 Inch Thick Dough
Cut Into 2-inch Pieces and Place in Tray
Bake For 30 Minutes at 350F
Add Syrup and Decorate With Pistachio
Baklava Stuffing: Mix the ground walnuts or your favorite nuts with 2 teaspoons of sugar and a few drops of Orange Blossom Essence. Alternatively, you could use 1 teaspoon of regular Orange Blossom Water.
Baklava Rolls: Place one sheet of thawed fillo dough on a cutting board then lightly brush it with melted butter. Repeat the process by placing 3 more fillo dough sheets on top of one another while buttering each sheet prior to placing the next one. Add 4-5 teaspoons of the Baklava Stuffing along the width of the dough. Roll tightly until the thickness of the roll is about 3/4th of an inch. Cut along the roll to separate it from the leftover fillo dough sheet, which could be used for another roll. Cut the Baklava roll into a few pieces, a couple of inches each then place in a buttered baking tray and brush rolls one last time with a bit of butter. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. The color of a perfectly cooked baklava dough should be light brown/golden, but not too dark as the taste can change.
Preparing the Simple Sugar Syrup: While the Baklava is baking, mix 1 cup of sugar with 3/4 cup of water, place in a pot on medium heat stirring occasionally. Once it starts to boil add the lemon juice then lower the heat to the min and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Once done, add the Orange Blossom Water at the end and let it rest and cool down. In our case and since we like to avoid bleached products, we used brown sugar in preparing the syrup which yielded the dark brown color. However you can make it with white sugar which would yield a transparent syrup with a lighter flavor.
Soaking the Baklava: After the Baklava is baked and while it’s still hot, immediately pour a few tablespoons of simple sugar syrup all over the rolls and let the dough absorb it. Sprinkle a bit of pistachio on each piece for decoration and let rest for 45-60 minutes prior to serving. Baklava can be stored at room temperature (in an air-tight container) for 2-3 weeks.
Preparation time: 1 hour(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 12
Culinary tradition: Middle Eastern
Source: Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen