I love taking everyone's all-time favorite classic desserts like baklava to the next level in simple ways that make them look SO fancy. This time, I'm going to show you how to make baklava rolls that are sure to always get so many compliments whenever you make them. And you won't even believe how quick and easy they are. I'll break it down for you step-by-step with my favorite filling: cinnamon walnut, but feel free to stuff them with whatever you like. Some ideas: double cream, pistachios, chocolate spread, mixed nuts, and cheese. Don't be afraid to get creative in the kitchen and experiment with different flavor combinations! It's my favorite hobby.
I always serve these baklava rolls on special occasions like birthdays, potluck dinners, and family reunions. If you would like a traditional baklava recipe, try this family pistachio baklava recipe.
Ingredients You'll Need:
- Phyllo Dough: You'll find these ready-made phyllo sheets in the frozen section of your local Middle Eastern or Mediterranean grocery store, and they usually come in a standard square size. You can also make them yourself, but it's really tricky to get them as thin as they should be.
- Ghee or Melted Butter: Baklava loves fat. In order to get it delicate and crispy, you're gonna want to be very generous when it comes to this ingredient. And by generous I mean we're going to be brushing every layer of dough with it. Traditionally, you'd use ghee, but if it's unavailable where you live, you can just use melted butter instead.
- Walnuts: You can use any of your favorite nuts, but for this recipe I'll be showing you how to make my favorite walnut cinnamon filling. You can also use hazelnuts, pistachios, peanuts, cashews, pine nuts, or a mix of some of those. Just make sure they are raw and unsalted.
- Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon gives the walnut filling its addicting smell and flavor. In my book, the more cinnamon, the better.
- Sugar: You'll need regular white sugar for both the walnut filling and for the simple syrup. You can also use honey for the walnut filling instead of sugar.
- Lemon Juice: Always use fresh lemon juice, and not the fake-tasting store-bought kind. It will help thicken your syrup and intensify the flavor.
- Orange Blossom Water: The secret ingredient to Arab simple syrup. A tablespoon goes a long way, and will leave your syrup tasting fresh.
- Pistachios: Optional, but I love garnishing my baklava rolls with some crushed pistachios when they're done. They really add a pop of color and make them look really pretty.
What Pastry Is Baklava Made From?
Baklava is traditionally made with layers and layers of very thin phyllo dough. It's usually just made of flour and water, with maybe a couple of other ingredients in the mix, depending on where you buy it from. What makes phyllo dough so special is that it's so thin, it's almost see-through. You'll have to be very gentle while handling it or else it will tear. You'll also want to keep the sheets covered or in an airtight container because they'll start ripping if they dry out.
How To Assemble
- Melt the ghee or butter in a pot on the stove or in the microwave.
- Assemble the phyllo layers. Place the first sheet out flat in front of you and brush generously with ghee or butter, then place the second layer carefully on top and do the same. Then place the third layer on top and also brush with ghee/butter.
- Layer the nut filling. You want to add a very thin layer of the walnut filling on top of the layered phyllo sheets. Make sure you spread it out evenly.
- Roll. Carefully roll into a tight log.
- Place the rolled baklava logs in a baking dish.
- Cut into the baklava rolls before baking. Once you're out of phyllo sheets, place them side by side in an appropriately-sized baking dish and slice horizontally or diagonally.
Tips And Tricks
- Set up your workstation. The phyllo sheets are very delicate, so you want to work quickly to prevent them from drying out and tearing. Have your filling, melted ghee, and all the tools you need ready and spread out neatly in front of you to make the process quick and easy.
- Roll tightly. You really want the rolls to stay put and not loosen up and fall apart. Use the tips of your fingers while you roll them to tuck the dough in on itself tightly.
- Use a sharp knife. To cut your baklava as neatly as possible, you'll need a sharp knife like a bread knife.
- Make your simple syrup while the baklava is in the oven. To save time, make your syrup while the baklava goodness is baking. It also needs to be hot when you pour it on top, so I find this way to be the most efficient.
- Pour the syrup onto the baklava immediately after it's out of the oven. This will make sure your baklava stays crispy.
How To Store
You can keep these baklava rolls out at room temperature for a couple of days. Just make sure you cover them loosely with a towel to keep them from getting soggy. If you want to store them for longer (up to 2 weeks), keep them in an airtight container in the fridge and re-bake them for a couple of minutes to get them crispy again.
Some More Delicious Middle Eastern Desserts
- Pistachio Baklava
- Date-Filled Cookies -Ka'ak Asawer
- Homemade Turkish Delight -Syrian Raha
- Loukomades Fried Greek Donut Balls
- Basbousa Semolina Cake
- Stovetop Rice Pudding