This pistachio baklava is an adaptation from a family friend's recipe. He made my family homemade baklava that was phenomenal. I wrote down his recipe on my iPhone back in 2013 and emailed it to myself. Low and behold, here is the recipe (with the addition of pistachios).
If you are looking for fat-free, sugar-free, made from trees, etc, please stop reading. This is heavy and rich tasting and not for the faint of hearts. I would recommend that this dessert be eaten in morsels so that you don't get so overwhelmed.
What I mean is... have you ever tried fudge? This pistachio baklava is like fudge, where if you aren't too careful, you can easily go into a sugar coma.
Ingredients You'll Need:
- Filo dough: The absolute must for the baklava is filo dough. Baklava is not baklava without it, so there's no point in trying an alternative. I've found filo dough in regular US grocery stores and internationally in the freezer section of the grocery store.
- Flower water and orange blossom water: These might be difficult to find at a regular grocery store. You can find them for sure in a Middle Eastern shop. If you can't find these ingredients, you can leave them out. Alternatively, you can add a cinnamon stick and 6 whole cloves when making the simple syrup.
- Nuts: This recipe is a mixture of pistachios and walnuts. You can also use all pistachio or all walnuts. Make sure to get raw nuts that are unsalted.
- Honey: I recommend using any type of honey.
How To Make The Simple Syrup and Honey Nut Mixture
- Prepare the simple syrup. You want the simple syrup to be room temperature before pouring it onto the cooked baklava. Otherwise, your baklava will lose its crunchiness and get overly sticky. In a small pot on the stove, add water and sugar on high heat. Bring to a boil. Add lemon juice, flower water, and blossom water. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove and allow it to cool down.
- Make the nut mixture. You can play around with your favorite ratios and nuts. I like making my baklava with walnuts and pistachios combined. Pulse the nuts in a food processor and pour into a bowl.
- Make the honey syrup. In a separate bowl combine the sugar, flower water, orange blossom water, honey, and simple syrup. Mix the honey syrup and crushed nuts altogether.
How to Assemble the Baklava Layers
- Heat up the butter on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Pull out your handy dandy thawed filo leaves and get your work station ready. When you unwrap filo dough, it will be very fragile. I had some anxiety unwrapping the dough when I saw how the outer layers were already breaking. Don't worry, this is completely normal! Cover the filo dough with a damp towel so the layers don't dry out.
- Lay the first filo layer. I recommend starting with the broken filo layers at the bottom because no one sees what the bottom looks like. But as you layer the filo to the top, you will want a nice unbroken filo piece for the top layer.
- Spread the love and the butter. The filo dough is twice the size of a 9" x 13" pan. The original recipe calls for cutting the filo sheet in half and spreading butter in between each and every sheet. However, I prefer to save time and calories by just folding the filo sheet in half and spreading the butter after each double layer.
- Make about 4 double layers of filo (equivalent to 8 single layers of filo) before adding the first layer of nut mixture (there will be a total of 3 layers of the nut mixture). You will then do the following: filo, butter, filo, butter, filo, butter, nut mixture, filo, butter, filo, butter, filo, butter, nut mixture, filo, butter, filo, butter, filo, butter. In the end, you will have 3 layers of nut mixture.
- Cut the baklava before baking. I'm still working on my geometry skills as you can see in the image below.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes at 375 ℉ (190 ℃). Remove from oven and immediately pour the cooled simple syrup in the cracks in between each baklava piece. Add chopped nuts on top.
Other Options for Making Baklava
You can substitute ghee for butter. In fact, many baklava recipes use ghee, however, I prefer the taste of butter.
If you like more of a honey taste, you can substitute more honey for the sugar in the honey syrup. If you would like to omit honey, you can substitute more sugar.
You can try a variety of nuts and nut combinations with pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios and walnuts.
How to Store Pistachio Baklava
You can leave baklava covered on the countertop or in the fridge. I prefer leaving my baklava on the countertop in a glass container with a snap lid.
This recipe makes a TON, so another option is freezing some of the pieces. When you are ready to eat a piece of baklava, just remove from the freezer and give it some time to thaw to room temperature.
Try Some Other Lebanese Dishes
- Labneh Recipe from the Mountains of Lebanon
- Fattoush Salad Recipe from My Lebanese Roots
- Best Recipe for Homemade Hummus