What is Baklava?
Baklava is a dessert comprised of dozens of layers of yufka or phyllo dough, brushed with clarified butter and one of two layers of chopped pistachios or walnuts. It’s sliced into small diamond shapes or triangles (carrot-shaped baklava) before baking, baked until deep golden brown and crispy and topped immediately with a sugar syrup.
What are Baklava Pockets?
Baklava pockets are a creation I thought of when I wanted baklava but I didn’t want to make a whole pan. I wondered, could I create a single serving baklava that’s portable? Thus, the creation of baklava pockets.
Where is Baklava from?
That’s a loaded question. The origins of baklava are a bit cloudy. Some will say it’s from Turkey and others will say it’s from Greece. Truth be told, both cultures prepare baklava, as do other nations in the Mediterranean and Levant. There’s definitely a difference between the two and quite frankly, it varies from city to city and even shop to shop. I lived in Gaziantep, Turkey for 2 years and I learned and fell in love with baklava there. In Turkey, it’s well known for its baklava and it’s flown to other parts of Turkey and ordered by the kilo.
Where can I find yufka or phyllo dough?
You can find them in the freezer section of your local supermarket. Phyllo dough is sometimes more common to find in the United States. Find yufka at Turkish or Middle Eastern markets.
Do I Have to Top with the Sugar Syrup?
Yes, the sugar syrup is a vital component of baklava. There’s no sugar used in the actual layers of pastry and nuts so the sugar syrup sweetens the whole dessert and also helps keep the layers together.
Can I Pour Hot Syrup on Hot Baklava?
No, don’t pour hot sugar syrup on hot baklava or it will get soggy. Likewise, don’t pour cooled sugar syrup on cooled baklava or else it will also be soggy. Traditionally, the syrup is prepared and allowed to cool either before putting the baklava in the oven or while the baklava is in the oven. Then the cooled syrup is poured on the hot baklava and it bubbles and sizzles beautifully.
What nuts shall I use in baklava?
Walnuts and pistachios are by far the most common and popular but there’s many different types of baklava.
How to Make Baklava?
1.) Defrost phyllo dough or yufka overnight in the refrigerator.
2.) Make clarified butter by melting 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter over medium-low heat. Scrape off the white milk solids with a spoon or pour through a cheese cloth or paper towel-lined fine mesh strainer.
3.) Finely chop in a food processor or by hand, 1 cup of pistachios (or walnuts).
4.) Make sugar syrup by combining
4.) Brush a baking pan with butter.
5.) Layer phyllo dough and brush with butter. Repeat 15 times and add nuts. Repeat this process and then cut the baklava into diamonds.
6.) Bake until deep golden brown and crisp.
- 8 ounces phyllo dough or yufka
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter
- 6 tbsp chopped roasted unsalted pistachios plus 2 tbsp extra for garnish
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 slice lemon
- Make the Clarified Butter:In a small frying pan, melt the butter over medium low heat until the white milk solids rise to the surface. Cool for 5 minutes and scrape off the milk solids and discard. Alternatively, drain through a cheesecloth or paper towel lined fine mesh strainer. Make the Sugar Syrup:Combine sugar, water and lemon slice in small saucepot and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.Make the Baklava Pockets:Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.Open the phyllo dough or yufka and cut in half lengthwise.Take one piece and cover the remaining pieces with a damp tea towel. Brush one piece with melted butter (it doesn't have to be perfectly coated). Top with another piece of dough and repeat 3 more times.In one corner, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of pistachios and carefully fold to create a triangle. Keep folding until all the dough is folded together into one triangle shaped pocket. Brush with butter and place on a baking sheet.Repeat 3 more times until you have 4 pockets.Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until deeply golden brown and crisp. Top with more chopped pistachios (if desired).Pour cooled syrup on top of hot baklava pockets until coated and allow to cook for 45 to 60 minutes.Afiyet Olsun!