Hey, did you know it’s National Baklava Day today? Yeah, November 17! I figure, why not take advantage of this sweet excuse and whip up a batch of baklava? I mean, who can resist those layered desserts?
Easy pistachio Baklava recipe
Baklava is a rich and indulgent pastry made with layers of phyllo dough, chopped nuts, and sweet syrup or honey. There are many baklava variations with different nuts and layer numbers.
I didn’t want to stick with a specific type or a traditional recipe with specific nuts or layer numbers. So, I used the nuts I already had and kept it simple with 5 layers. Five is a moderate number for me, I didn’t want it too heavy. I also made this Pistachio Baklava dessert less sweet.
I’ve got a mix of pistachios and almonds, and I’m eager to see how their flavors will intermingle in each bite. The process of making thin layers was a little bit challenging for me. I failed a couple of times before making good enough layers. You can pair the rich, nutty notes of Pistachio Baklava with the zesty kick of a Lemon Drop Martini or Orange Martini for a tangy contrast.
Here is how to make Pistachio Baklava:
Healthy Pistachio Baklava
For the filling
- 1/2 cup almonds finely chopped
- 1 cup pistachios finely chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar or a sugar substitute for a low-sugar version
- 1 tsp cinnamon
for the layers
- 1 package of phyllo dough thawed according to package instructions.
- 1 cup unsalted butter melted
for the syrup
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a bowl, combine the finely chopped almonds, pistachios, sugar (or sugar substitute), and cinnamon. Mix well and set aside.
- Place one sheet of phyllo dough in a buttered baking dish. Brush it generously with melted butter. Repeat this process for a total of 5 layers.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of the nut filling evenly over the layered phyllo.
- Add 5 more layers of phyllo dough, buttering each layer. Between every 5 layers, sprinkle the nut filling until all the filling is used. Complete the baklava with 5 final layers of phyllo dough, ensuring to butter each layer.
- With a sharp knife, carefully cut the baklava into diamond or square shapes before baking.
- Place the baklava in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
- While the baklava is baking, make the syrup. In a saucepan, combine honey, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and let it cool.
- Once the baklava is out of the oven, immediately pour the cooled syrup evenly over the hot baklava. Allow it to absorb the syrup and cool completely.
To store Pistachio Baklava, let it cool and place it in an airtight container in a dark, cool place. to protect it from air and humidity. This will help retain its crispiness. If you have multiple layers of baklava, put parchment paper between them. With this way, it can last for 1 week.
You shouldn’t put the dessert into the fridge, because it tends to absorb moisture and lose its crispness. However, you can freeze it. Wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. This can help the Pistachio Baklava last for 3 months.
The origins of this dessert are a bit fuzzy, as different cultures claim to have contributed to the creation of this delectable dessert. Many believe that baklava comes from the kitchens of the Ottoman Empire, which spanned across present-day Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East.
However, others argue that it may have originated even earlier in ancient Mesopotamia. Regardless of its precise origin, baklava has become a beloved dessert with variations found in various countries, each adding its own unique twist.
Regional types of baklava abound, offering a diverse range of flavors and textures.
- Greek Baklava is often made with 33 layers of chopped walnuts, and cinnamon and is soaked in honey syrup.
- Turkish Baklava often features layers filled with a mixture of finely pistachios, walnuts, or hazelnuts. It is sweetened with a sugar syrup that may include a hint of lemon. This variation is similar to that of Bosnian.
- Lebanese version often incorporates a mixture of pistachios and cashews. It is distinguished by a rose water or orange blossom water-flavored sugar syrup.
- Armenian Pakhlava is made with 33 layers filled with walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon. It’s known for its diamond shape and is usually topped with a light dusting of powdered sugar.
- Persian cake, known as baghlava, features layers of almonds, pistachios, or a combination of both. It is often flavored with cardamom and rose water.
- Egyptian Baklava is made with a filling of coarsely ground almonds, pine nuts, or walnuts. It’s flavored with cinnamon and sometimes orange blossom water. The syrup may also include a splash of rose water.
- Cypriot dessert is made with a mixture of ground almonds and walnuts. The syrup is typically flavored with a combination of cinnamon and clove.
Baklava is a unique and distinct dessert. However, variations inspired by the authentic recipe and the flavors of baklava can be found in other baked goods like Chocolate Baklava, Nuttela, Gluten-free, or Vegan Baklava. Some even make baklava cupcakes, croissants, muffins, and bread. These adaptations often incorporate the key elements of baklava, such as nuts and honey, into different forms.
For example, Baklava Cupcakes feature nuts and honey in the batter or as toppings while Baklava Croissant filled with a mixture of nuts and honey. Baklava Muffins incorporate nutty textures and a honey drizzle while Baklava Bread has nuts and a sweet syrup.
While these variations share some flavor elements with baklava, they are distinct in their own right and offer a creative twist on the traditional dessert. Each has its own unique texture and presentation, providing a different experience for those who love the rich flavors of baklava.