Homemade Baklava Rolls are perfect for celebrating special occasions. This rolled Baklava recipe is sure to impress your family and friends with its irresistible blend of crispy phyllo dough, sweet nut filling, and fragrant syrup.
Baklava, pronounced Baklawa in Arabic, is a decadent dessert made with phyllo dough, ground nuts, butter and a sweet syrup made with either sugar or honey.
Many different Baklava recipes exist throughout the mediterranean region and the Middle-East. Depending on what your preference is, you can make it with ground walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios or even a combination of these nuts.
You can find Baklava in different formats, some are made rolled like cigars or fingers while others make them by layering phyllo sheets and the nut mixture in a baking pan and portioning the tray into individual servings that they cut diagonally into diamond shapes.
The recipe I'm sharing with you today is for rolled walnut baklava fingers.
I'm sharing with you today the recipe for my mother's rolled walnut Baklava fingers, which we often bake together as a treat during the festive season. Her easy Baklava recipe is always a hit due to her talent for making delicious desserts.
This recipe makes a lot of Baklava (about 100 pieces), but you can easily divide the ingredients in half if you want to make a smaller quantity.
Or make the full recipe and store some in the freezer to have for your next party or for special occasions. Baklawa really is a perfect dessert to make ahead and freeze.
How to Make Rolled Baklava
Though making Baklava rolls at home isn't difficult, it is a bit time consuming. This is an easy recipe with steps that can be done ahead of time that will speed up the process.
You'll have a lot of Baklava if you end up making this recipe in full. Remember that you can make a smaller batch by dividing the recipe in half. You'll still have about 50 individual baklava pieces.
Here's an overview of the ingredients used in this Baklava, please see the recipe card at the end of the post for amounts needed.
- Sheets of phyllo dough: You can usually find boxes of phyllo in the freezer section of your grocery store, usually near the puff pastry. You can also find them in Middle-Eastern grocery stores.
- Unsalted butter or ghee
- Walnuts. For best flavor, walnuts should be lightly toasted before chopping. For pistachio baklava, use unsalted shelled pistachio nuts.
- Granulated sugar
- Orange blossom water: This ingredient can be found in Middle Eastern stores.
- Lemon juice: Use fresh lemon juice.
- Ground pistachio: This ingredient is optional and is used for topping baked Baklawa rolls.
- The simple syrup can be made ahead of time and stored at room temperature. To make the sugar syrup, combine the water, sugar and lemon juice. Bring it to a boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer for about twenty minutes or until the syrup thickens. Add the orange blossom water, stir and set it aside the hot syrup to cool.
- You can also toast the raw walnuts, let them cool and chop them coarsely in your food processor ahead of time.
- To make the nut filling, combine the walnuts with granulated sugar, water and orange blossom water. Mix well and set the nut mixture aside.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface of the melted butter and discard it. You will need to return the remaining butter to the heat as you work to keep it from solidifying.
- While you melt the butter, you can unfold one package of phyllo dough. Take two phyllo dough sheets together and roll them, repeat for every 2 sheets in package and stack them. Cover the remaining phyllo sheets with plastic wrap or a clean plastic bag and then a tea towel. Make sure your unused dough rolls remain covered while you work so they don't dry up.
- Take one roll of filo dough and unroll it so that it lays flat on the counter or clean surface. You will be working with the wider side. Using a pastry brush, brush the top layer of filo pastry evenly with melted butter. Spoon the walnut mixture evenly along the edge (closest to you) of the phyllo dough, leaving a one inch border. Fold phyllo dough over once to cover the nuts and then proceed to roll the dough around the nuts until the end (like a cigar). Make sure to roll the baklava as tightly as possible without breaking it.
Below is a picture (of my original post) that shows you how to lay out the phyllo dough and nuts as you prepare to roll it. It can take some practice to roll it using the longer side of the phyllo sheet.
If you find it too difficult, you can lay the nuts on the shorter end of the phyllo sheet and roll it from that end. It's easier to control the tightness of the rolls that way.
- Once rolled, place the roll seam down and using a sharp knife portion it into approximately 6 even pieces. Move the cut pieces (again seam down) onto the baking sheet. Repeat this process until you have filled your baking tray with baklava.
- Brush the cut pieces of baklava with the melted clarified butter and then bake until golden brown and crisp.
- Remove from oven and brush the hot baklava rolls with melted butter one more time.
- Cool baklava on baking sheet for a few minutes, then submerge them in the prepared cooled syrup. Turn the pieces to coat well with syrup, and then transfer the syrupy baklava into a colander to drain excess syrup.
- If desired, sprinkle ground pistachio on plated baklava pieces.
Cover homemade Baklava with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to a week or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Luckily Baklava freezes well for up to 3 months. Place Baklava in an airtight container with wax paper in between the layers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
More Middle-Eastern Recipes
- Kafta Kebabs
- Chicken Shawarma Kebabs
- Tabbouleh (Parsley Salad)
- Fattoush Salad (Pita Bread Salad)
- Lebanese Cucumber Yogurt Salad (Khyar Bi Laban)
- Biscotta (Jam and Nut Bars)
Ingredients for the Baklava:
- 2 lbs. phyllo pastry thawed
- 1 pound of unsalted butter melted
- 8 cups walnuts lightly toasted and ground to a medium texture
- 1-1/4 cups of granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water to moisten nuts and sugar
- 1 tsp. orange blossom water more to taste
For the syrup:
- 3 cups of water
- 4 cups of sugar
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. orange blossom water
- ½ cup ground pistachio
For the Sugar Syrup:
- In a large saucepan, combine water, sugar and lemon juice.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer for approximately 20 minutes until syrup thickens, add the orange blossom water and stir. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
For the Filling:
- To make the filling, process the walnuts in a food processor using the pulse method until they are medium ground.
- In a large bowl, combine the chopped walnuts, sugar, water and orange blossom water until blended; set mixture aside.
To assemble and bake the Baklava:
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface of the melted butter and discard it. You will need to return the butter to the heat as you work to keep it from solidifying.
- Start with unfolding one package of phyllo dough. Take two phyllo sheets together and roll them, repeat for every 2 sheets in package and stack them. Cover the stack with a clean plastic bag and then a tea towel. Make sure your unused dough rolls remain covered while you work.
- Take one roll of phyllo and unroll it so that it lays flat on the counter. You will be working with the wider side. Brush the phyllo dough evenly with melted butter.
- Spoon about 6 tablespoons of the walnut mixture evenly along the edge (closest to you) of the phyllo dough, leaving a one inch border.
- Fold dough over once to cover the nuts and then proceed to roll the dough around the nuts until the end (like a cigar). Make sure to roll the baklava as tightly as possible without breaking it.
- Once rolled, place seam down and portion it into approximately 6 even pieces.
- Move the cut pieces (again seam down) onto the baking sheet. Repeat process until you have a full sheet of baklava.
- Brush the cut pieces of baklava with the melted butter and then bake for approximately 22-25 minutes, until golden and crisp.
- Remove from oven and brush baklava with butter one more time. Cool baklava on baking sheet for a few minutes, then submerge them in the prepared syrup. Turn pieces to coat well with syrup, and then move them into a colander to drain excess syrup.
- Repeat this process until all phyllo dough and ground nuts are used.
- Optional: Before serving, sprinkle a bit of ground unsalted pistachio nuts above each piece of baklava. Store the baklava in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
- To toast the walnuts, heat oven to 350°F. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring nuts once after 5 minutes. Let cool.
- Orange Blossom Water can be found in Middle-Eastern grocery stores.
- Baklava can be frozen. To store baklava, place a sheet of wax paper between the layers of baklava in your container. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for about 4 hours before serving.
This post has been updated with new pictures and new content.