Paklava

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Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
49,827
Location
Massachusetts
I know. Baklava/Paklava. This delicious dessert was popularized by the Greek culture in the US. However, like most foods, recipes don't recognize current political borders and are more appropriately assigned to a geographic region. Paklava (that's what my family called it) has versions in Greece, Armenia, Iraq and Iran, Turkey etc. The versions vary mostly with the type of nuts (walnuts, pistachios, etc) and sweeteners (simple syrup or honey).

I spent some time refining this recipe by talking to old Armenian ladies who knew their business. I badgered my sister to pump her SIL (the acknowledged family expert) for answers to my questions so I could get it as right as possible.

Here's my version of the recipe along with some photos to help you along. The recipe calls for two separate layers of nut filling while the photo of the finished product shows paklava with three separate layers. Just trying to show you there is some flexibility.


Paklava

250 Gr Sugar (1¼ C)
1 C Water
1 tsp Lemon Juice
3 C Walnuts, finely chopped
1Tb Cinnamon
50 Gr Sugar (¼ C)
⅛ tsp Ground Clove
¾ Lb Unsalted Butter, clarified
1 Lb Phyllo Dough (see note)

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring to melt the sugar. Boil for 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and set it aside to cool.

Mix the nuts, sugar and spices in a bowl and set aside.

Brush the bottom of a 14x10 pan with butter. Place a phyllo sheet in the pan and brush it lightly with butter. Repeat for a total of 13 buttered sheets. Spread half the nut mixture over the surface of the phyllo in the pan.



Layer a second group of 13 sheets of phyllo, buttering each sheet. Spread the remaining nut mixture over the surface of the phyllo in the pan.

Layer the remaining phyllo sheets, buttering each sheet.

Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325º F.

Cut the paklava into pieces. Pour any remaining butter over the top of the paklava.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the top is a light golden brown. Turn off the oven and leave the pan in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and tilt the pan so excess butter drains to a corner. Remove the excess butter. (Removing one corner piece of paklava will facilitate this step.)

Completely cool the pan on a cooling rack.

Using a large spoon, spread the syrup over the paklava as evenly as possible. Allow the paklava to rest for 2 hours before serving. Drain excess syrup as with the butter.

Store, loosely covered, at room temperature.

NOTE: A package of phyllo contains 20 sheets of dough roughly 13"x18". Cut the stack of dough in half to create 40 sheets 13"x9". Some phyllo comes precut.
 

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Janet H

Certifiable Executive Chef
Staff member
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Messages
4,306
Location
Pacific NW
That looks amazing! Do you ever add orange or rose water to the syrup?
 

Bama-Rick

Senior Cook
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
109
Location
LA, Lower Alabama aka Mobile
I know. Baklava/Paklava. This delicious dessert was popularized by the Greek culture in the US. However, like most foods, recipes don't recognize current political borders and are more appropriately assigned to a geographic region. Paklava (that's what my family called it) has versions in Greece, Armenia, Iraq and Iran, Turkey etc. The versions vary mostly with the type of nuts (walnuts, pistachios, etc) and sweeteners (simple syrup or honey).

I spent some time refining this recipe by talking to old Armenian ladies who knew their business. I badgered my sister to pump her SIL (the acknowledged family expert) for answers to my questions so I could get it as right as possible.

Here's my version of the recipe along with some photos to help you along. The recipe calls for two separate layers of nut filling while the photo of the finished product shows paklava with three separate layers. Just trying to show you there is some flexibility.


Paklava

250 Gr Sugar (1¼ C)
1 C Water
1 tsp Lemon Juice
3 C Walnuts, finely chopped
1Tb Cinnamon
50 Gr Sugar (¼ C)
⅛ tsp Ground Clove
¾ Lb Unsalted Butter, clarified
1 Lb Phyllo Dough (see note)
No honey??
 

purple.alien.giraffe

Executive Chef
Joined
Jun 5, 2011
Messages
2,623
Location
Mostly in my head
I will have to try this recipe. I love the different varieties of paklava/baklava that I've had. Except for that one weird one that that didn't really have a filling and tasted kind of like soggy shredded wheat with overly sweetened honey sauce. I wasn't a huge fan of that one. I mean, it wasn't bad, I just wanted to put it in a bowl, heat it up in the microwave, and then pour milk over it so I could eat it like cereal.

I have a recipe of my own, and another one I adapted to use non-nut/peanut seeds for a couple friends with allergies. They both use honey, orange zest, cardamom, and sometimes lavender to make the syrup. I don't remember where the lavender came from. And of course, being my dad's daughter, I've experimented with maple syrup to replace the honey. Not at all traditional but delicious.

Sadly I haven't found gluten free phyllo sheets that weren't ridiculously expensive or a good alternative to them that is more affordable. It makes sense, sometimes things are much more difficult to make gluten free. So still hunting for something for my friends with celiac's and other gluten sensitivity/intolerance disorders.
 

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