This is my mom’s baklava recipe for delicious Middle-Eastern homemade rolled walnut stuffed Baklava.
Baklava is a delicious pastry made with phyllo dough and ground nuts. Many variations of baklava exist and depending on what your preference is, you can make it with ground walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios or even a combination of these nuts. My family’s preference is walnuts, and so this week I spent Tuesday morning happily making a large quantity of walnut stuffed baklava with my mother. I love baking, and baking with my mother is always a treat. She’s not only a great baker, but she’s also an amazing cook! My mom isn’t a trained chef, but I’m sure she can take on some of the best chefs out there.
My mother doesn’t usually measure her ingredients when she makes baklava, so I had to request that we measure all of the ingredients so that I can share this recipe with you. Please note that this recipe makes a lot of baklava (about 100 pieces), my mom doesn’t bake in small quantities! You can easily divide the ingredients in half if you want to make a smaller quantity.
Here’s a picture that shows you how to lay out the phyllo dough and nuts as you prepare to roll it. My mother likes to roll her baklava using the wider side, it can take some practice to do it this way. If you find it too difficult, you may want to lay the nuts on the shorter end of the phyllo dough and roll it from that end, I find it easier to control the tightness of the rolls that way.
My Mom's Baklava Recipe
Ingredients for the Baklava:
- 2 lbs. phyllo pastry thawed
- 1 lb. of unsalted butter melted
- 8 cups lightly toasted walnuts halves* ground to a medium texture
- 1-½ 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
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 a medium ground.
In a large bowl, combine the chopped walnuts, sugar, water and orange blossom water until blended; set mixture aside.
To assemble the Baklava: Preheat oven to 325°F.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
Start with unfolding one package of phyllo dough.
Take two 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.
Once this process is completed, take one roll and undo it so that it lays flat on the counter.
You will be working with the wider side. Brush 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 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 pieces.
Place pieces (again seam down) on the baking sheet.
Repeat process until you have a full sheet of baklava.
Brush the pieces with the melted butter and then bake for approximately 22-25 minutes, until golden.
Remove from oven and brush with butter one more time.
Repeat this process until all phyllo dough is used.
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.
Once drained from excess syrup you can 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 walnuts, heat oven to 350°F. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, stirring nuts once after 5 minutes. Let cool.
You can also freeze baklava. Just make sure you 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.