Walnut baklava rolls are a delicious dessert made with phyllo sheets, melted ghee, a cinnamon walnut mixture, and orange blossom simple syrup.
Baklava, like this pistachio baklava recipe, is a well-known delicacy dating back to the Ottoman empire. It's served all over the Mediterranean region including Greece, Armenia, the Levant region, and Turkey. When many people think of a traditional baklava recipe, they think of a layered pastry dessert topped with sugar syrup.
What I Love About This Recipe
I love taking this decadent dessert to the next level in a simple way that makes them look SO fancy. I'm going to show you how to make baklava rolls that are sure to always get compliments whenever you make them. And you won't even believe how quick and easy they are.
I'll break this baklava rolls recipe 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, honey syrup, rose water, chocolate spread, pistachios, and almonds. Don't be afraid to get creative in the kitchen and experiment with different flavor combinations! It's my favorite hobby.
Baklava rolls are the perfect dessert for special occasions like birthdays, potluck dinners, and family reunions.
- 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: Use regular white sugar for both the walnut filling and 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.
Phyllo Dough Notes
Traditional baklava is made with layers and layers of very thin sheets of phyllo dough. Phyllo dough (aka fil dough) is 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 Make Baklava Rolls
Thaw the phyllo sheets ahead of time. Move the frozen package of phyllo dough to the fridge a day before.
Add the walnuts to a food processor. Blend until they are crushed.
Add the crushed walnuts to a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, ground cinnamon, and orange blossom water. Mix together.
Melt the ghee in the microwave. Set up a clean working surface on the kitchen counter: melted ghee, crushed walnut mixture, and thawed phyllo sheets. Cover phyllo sheets with a damp kitchen towel so they don't dry out.
Lay a single sheet of phyllo dough on a flat surface. Spread melted ghee on top using a pastry brush. Repeat for three sheets of phyllo dough.
Add some of the walnut mixture on top of the phyllo sheet layers.
Spread the walnut mixture in a thin layer. Carefully roll into a tight log. Repeat.
Once you're out of phyllo sheets, place them side by side in an appropriately-sized baking dish. Spread some melted ghee on top.
Cut the baklava rolls horizontally or diagonally before baking. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 ℉ (190 ℃) for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Make the sweet syrup while the baklava rolls are baking. Add the water, sugar, orange blossom water, and lemon juice to a small pot. Simmer until it thickens.
Pour the simple syrup on top of the hot baklava rolls.
Let the baklava rolls cool prior to serving. Sprinkle some crushed pistachios on top.
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 rolled baklava 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.
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.
Delicious Middle Eastern Desserts
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Walnut Baklava Rolls
- 15 sheets phyllo dough
- ⅔ cup melted ghee or butter
- 1½ cup raw walnuts
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Place the walnuts in the food processor and chop up into tiny pieces, then place in a large bowl. Mix the crushed walnuts with the sugar, cinnamon, and orange blossom water and set aside.
- Melt the ghee in the microwave and set up your work station.
- Lay one phyllo sheet flat out in front of you and brush with melted ghee. Repeat until you have 3 layers of phyllo with ghee in between.
- Spread the walnut mixture very thinly but evenly onto the entire layered sheet, then roll into a log.
- Repeat until you’re done.
- Grease a baking tray with some more ghee and place the baklava rolls tightly next to one another.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 375 ℉ (190 ℃) for 25-30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
- While the baklava rolls are baking in the oven, make the sugar syrup. Mix all of the ingredients together in a small pan, bring to a boil, then let simmer until it has thickened. Pour the syrup onto the rolls as soon as they’re out of the oven and let cool completely before serving.
- Butter is an appropriate substitution for ghee.