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Turkish Baklava

Turkish Baklava

Have you ever tried Turkish baklava? If you have, you would agree with me that it is one of the most luscious, delicious baklava varieties out there in the world. Dripping with syrup, buttery, flaky, sweet, crunchy—it is so good!

As much as I love store-bought Turkish baklava, I also enjoy making it myself from time to time. It is not as difficult as it may seem or sound to make. Really. A few pointers will help you through the job. You will love the experience and, most of all, the taste of your home-made sweet treat.

Turkish Baklava

Enjoy!

Turkish Baklava

Filo (phyllo) dough should be defrosted at room temperature until the sheets separate easily.

Turkish Baklava

Filo dough ready for the baklava.

Turkish Baklava

Filo sheets are so thin you can see though.

Turkish Baklava

Here’s the pan I bake my baklava in.

Turkish Baklava

Layer one sheet of filo dough in the pan.

Turkish Baklava

Then brush with some clarified butter.

Turkish Baklava

Continue layering until you have used up half of the dough.

Turkish Baklava

Sprinkle the walnut filling evenly over the top.

Turkish Baklava

Cover with the remaining filo sheets, buttering each layer.

Turkish Baklava

Cut the dough into rectangles.

A close-up view of the unbaked baklava.

Turkish Baklava

Baked baklava should be light golden.

Turkish Baklava

Pour the syrup on top and let the baklava soak it up.

Turkish Baklava
Adapted from “Sultan’s Kitchen: A Turkish Cookbook” by Ozcan Ozan

A few pointers before you begin:

1) Clarified butter is recommended for the butter soak here, for best flavor results (see my recipe at the end, to make your own). However, you can use regular unsalted butter, too. Simply  melt and cool it.

2) Filo dough, also known as phyllo dough, can be found in the freezer section of most supermarkets. Keep it frozen until you know you will be using it. Remove it from the freezer and let the roll come to room temperature before using (do not try to unroll the frozen dough or it will break!). Once all of the sheets have defrosted and are easy to separate, open up the roll, and immediately cover the top layer with a damp kitchen cloth, to prevent the dough from drying. As you work with each sheet of dough, keep the rest covered, as the dough dries quickly!

3) You can use pistachio instead of walnuts for the filling.

4) For a crispier baklava, you can use less syrup (in fact, the original recipe suggests using less water and sugar). Use 2  1/2 cup cold water and 3  1/2 cup granulated sugar.

Ingredients

Syrup:
4 cups water
5 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

 Filling:
3 cups walnuts
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Butter Soak:
1  1/2 cups unsalted clarified butter (recipe follows)

You will also need:
2 packages filo (phyllo) dough, each containing 20-22 sheets of dough

Directions

First, make the syrup. Combine the water with the sugar in a medium-size saucepan. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. The syrup is ready when it is light yellow. Stir the lemon juice into the syrup and set it aside to cool.

Next, prepare the filling. Place the walnuts and sugar in a food processor. Process until medium ground. Do not grind too fine—you should feel the crunch when you eat the baklava. Set aside.

Brush the bottom and the sides of a 12-by-16-by-1-inch (30-by-40-by-2.5-cm) baking pan with a little of the clarified butter.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).

Gently place 1 sheet of the dough in the pan. Be careful, as the dough is very fragile. Do not worry if there are some minor tears though. With a wide pastry brush, lightly brush the dough with a little of the clarified butter (about 2 tablespoons). Continue layering the dough and brushing it with butter until one package of dough is used. Minor tears and cuts are ok.

Spread the walnuts over the dough and drizzle just a little water on top, to help the dough adhere to the walnuts when the next layer is added.

Using the second package of filo dough, layer the dough over the walnuts, brushing each sheet with a little of the clarified butter. Brush the top layer with the butter, too.

Using a sharp knife dipped in hot water, cut through the dough halfway down lengthways 5 times (cutting the dough halfway down before baking will allow the top layers of dough to curl under as they bake), to obtain 6 parallel strips, then cut across 11 times, to obtain 12 parallel strips. Depending on how small or big you want your baklava pieces, you can cut into as few or as many strips as you want. You can also cut the dough into diamonds.

Bake the baklava in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 325ºF (160ºC) and bake the baklava for  30 minutes more, until the top is light brown. Remove the baklava from the oven and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Run a knife along the cut lines of the baklava, all the way to the bottom of the baking pan, and pour the cooled syrup evenly over the lines. Let the baklava cool completely. Serve at room temperature. The baklava will keep for one week, stored in a cool, dry place.

Turkish Baklava

Clarified Butter

Note: To make clarified butter, start with about 25% more unsalted butter than the required amount of clarified butter in a particular recipe, as butter reduces in volume while cooking. Make a big batch and store in a cool place, to use any time you need.

Directions

Place chunks of unsalted butter in a heavy bottomed pan and melt over low heat. Gently simmer until foam rises to the top. Skim off the foam. Continue to simmer until dark solids have formed on the bottom of the pan (after about 20 minutes of simmering). Remove the pan from the heat.

Line a fine-mesh strainer with large muslin or 2-3 layers of clean cheesecloth and set the strainer over a heat-proof bowl or a pan. Pour the warm butter onto the strainer to rid it off any solids from the pan. Discard the solids. Allow to cool completely. Store in a closed container (a jar works great) in a cool place for up to 6 months.

Clarified Butter

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18 Comments
  1. One of the best treats!!

  2. Feridecim – Did you make this for Bayram? Ellerine saglik, I can really dig into several pieces right now. My best always..

  3. Gittim, geldim, bakt?m:)) çok güzel, çok. Ellerine sa?l?k Feride!

  4. CHERINE – Glad you like it too.

    AYSEGUL – Not for Bayram. Made it a while ago for a get-together.

    NUR – Tesekkur ederimmmm:)

  5. I always add cinnamon to the filling. That gives it a delicious smell and taste, like in azeri baklava cardamon makes all the difference.
    But it looks gorgeous. Thanks….

  6. KONUL BALTAS – Thank you for the idea with cinnamon.

  7. Your site looks really interesting! I cooked baklava many times. I grew up eating a lot of Azerbaijan dishes.

  8. I so want to try this – almost intimidated by the preparation and thoroughness. looks so yum!

  9. JULIA – Thank you and enjoy!

    NEEL – Glad you want to try it. Please let me know how it turns. Enjoy!

  10. Hi, I have been using so many recipes from your website and they are absolutely great. Can you please post more? I keep on coming back to your website but I don’t see any new recipes. Keep them coming, they are absolutely amazing. thank you in advance.

  11. My Turkish Baklava is in the oven right now. Thank you so much!

  12. Feride, Sultan’s Kitchen is just around the corner from my workplace in Boston! I just went their yesterday and tried their Turkish baklava for the first time – it was probably the best baklava I’d ever had!!!
    I have been buying my baklava from an Armenian store in Watertown, MA, but now I can make my own delicious treats!!! Thank you so much for this recipe, it looks really easy and delish. And I absolutely adore your blog and will be stopping by often :o)
    Yuliya.

  13. Farida, are you using Filo Dough #4? How many (approx.) sheets per package is there?
    Your baklava looks absolutely gorgeous! Most of the Turkish omemade baklava that I have seen doesn’t look like store-bought, but yours does!

  14. ZARINA – I don’t remember the number (don’t have any in my fridge at the moment) but I use a package that has 20-24 sheets in it. Thank you for your nice words:)

  15. YULIA -Thank you for your nice words! One day I would like to eat at Sultan’s Kitchen too. I love their cookbook!

  16. Started to prepare Turkish baklava in Dublin and turned to be Azeri paxlava at the end due to quite thick puff pastes (just made few modifications to adapt to Azeri version, such as filling after each layer, cutting rhombus, etc). DELICIOUS! Million thanks to Azcookbook for inspiration!!!!

  17. Feride, it’s #4! )) My pack (“the fillo factory”brand) had 28 sheets.I have just put my first Turkish Baklava in oven. Can’t wait! Thank you!

  18. salam , from where do you buy this daugh i ve never find in my nearby maghza ?

    FERIDE at AZCOOKBOOK: Unfortunately I don’t know which stores sell this in Baku as I am not there. Maybe check some good big supermarkets? Ask for baklava dough.