Turkish Baklava Recipe made with crisp and buttery phyllo pastry, pistachios and syrup, a fantastic dessert that screams perfection. Overly indulgent, sweet, rich, my version of baklava is well simplified and fail-proof. It might not be the quickest dessert to make for a party, but it's surely worth the effort and every single calorie.
Baklava is one of those desserts that once you have a bit of, you instantly fall in love with. At least the ones baked well, not the soggy baklava that leaves you with a rather unpleasant after taste.
I absolutely love baklava, and I never minded paid quite a good amount of money on a few slices. Because they are worth every single pence. Until I decided to give it a try myself, and see if l could recreate a dessert that is ever so popular all over the world.
I must say, don't start making it if you are short of time, because it does take time to make it. You can't rush it, there are no shortcuts. It takes as long as it takes, and that's that.
And if you'd rather go for the healthier kind of desserts, again, this one is not for everyone. It's buttery, it's sugary, it's rich beyond belief, but it's divinely delicious, and worth eating it.
Unlike the Greek version, which uses honey, cinnamon and other nuts (walnuts being the most popular), the Turkish version, also known as pistachio baklava, uses (obviously) pistachios and a simple sugar and lemon juice syrup. And nothing else. Let's see how to make it!
Step-by-step photos and instructions
The process itself is dead easy, and the ingredients used are just a few: phyllo pastry, melted butter, pistachios, sugar, lemon juice and water. That's it!
The prep takes long just because every single phyllo sheet has to be brushed with melted butter, and ideally the pistachios should be in their shells, as they have the best texture. The ones already shelled are not as crunchy, but rather soft.
Add the sugar, water and lemon juice to a pan set over a low to medium heat. Bring to a boil, then let it simmer for about 15 minutes until slightly thicken. Leave to cool completely, as it has to be cold when poured over the baklava.
- melt the butter over a low heat, and use a spoon to remove as much foam as possible in order to get clarified butter - I find that this step is optional, as I personally can't see any difference in texture between melted/clarified butter, but some people will advise this is best practice
- brush melted butter over the bottom of a large rectangle tray - mine is 40x27 cm or 15x10 inches
- add one phyllo sheet, and brush with butter all over it
- repeat the process with other 7-8 sheets
- sprinkle one third of the ground pistachios over the sheets, then butter and layer other 7-8 sheets
- again, sprinkle another third of the pistachios over, and butter and layer another 7-8 sheets
NOTE! Depending on the amount of sheets the phyllo pastry packages have, you can use more of less phyllo sheets per layer - I used 2 packages of phyllo pastry, and they were enough. You can have anything between 6-12 sheets per layer.
The remaining pistachios won't be sprinkled straight away, as they will burn while baking. They can be sprinkled after the baklava is out of the oven. Slice the baklava before baking it, after it comes out of the oven, it's too crispy, and the delicate phyllo sheets will break easily - I got 35 squares.
- preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit)
- place the sliced baklava on the middle rack of the oven
- bake for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 150 degrees Celsius (300 Fahrenheit), if the pastry is browning too quickly, cover it with kitchen foil, and bake for a further 25-30 minutes
- the baklava is ready when the top is golden brown and crisp, and every layer is beautifully crunchy
- remove it from the oven, sprinkle the remaining pistachios over, and pour the syrup all over the baklava
- leave to cool completely, ideally overnight
And that's that! It sounds complicated, but it's just a long process. But, I can promise you , you will love every single bite! I made these for Christmas, and my guests loved them. So, if you are looking for a good dessert for any party or celebration, this one is for you!
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Turkish Baklava Recipe
- 24 sheets phyllo pastry
- 3 cups pistachios (500 g)
- 200 g butter
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- To make the syrup, add the sugar, water and lemon juice to a pan set over a low to medium heat.
- Bring it to a boil, and leave to simmer for 15 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Leave to cool completely.
- Melt the butter over a low to medium heat. If you want to get clarified butter, use a spoon to remove the white foam that forms over the butter when it melts - or you can just leave it, it's entirely optional.
- Shell the pistachios, then either chop them finely, or blitz them in a food processor.
- Brush butter over the bottom of a large rectangle baking tray - mine is 40x27cm, or 15x10 inches.
- Arrange a sheet of phyllo pastry over the buttered tray, and brush it with more melted butter.
- Repeat with 7-8 more sheets of pastry.
- Sprinkle a third of the pistachios over the 8th sheet of phyllo, then repeat the process with other 7-8 sheets of buttery phyllo.
- Sprinkle another third of pistachios, then again repeat with 7-8 more sheets of pastry.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).
- Slice the baklava into squares - I got 7x5 squares, so 35 in total.
- Bake for 20 minutes on the middle rack of the oven, then lower the temperature to 150 degrees Celsius (300 Fahrenheit).
- If the baklava browns too quickly, cover it well with kitchen foil.
- Bake for a further 25-30 minutes until the top with crispy and golden brown, and all the layers are baked through.
- Pour over the cooled syrup, and sprinkle the remaining pistachios all all over the top.
- Leave to cool overnight.
- Click on the US Customary link to see the measurements displayed in cups and ounces.
- The servings can be adjusted by clicking the number next to Servings.