Monday, June 27, 2011

Phyllo to Baklava! - Daring Bakers Challenge

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

OK, let’s talk Baklava! I had never had baklava before but after reading everyone’s excited reactions to this challenge I couldn’t wait to give it a shot.  I made the dough, rolled the phylo sheets one by one, crushed the nuts, layered, layered, layered, baked it, and then doused it in the honey/syrup.  Then I waited impatiently for the epic moment that would be my first bit of real homemade baklava.

Then the moment of truth came! With sore arms from rolling the living poop out of the dough and sticky countertops from the syrup somehow travelling on it’s own, I took my first bite.

And discovered that I don’t really care for baklava

I thought that maybe I had done something wrong, or somehow missed an important step.  So I let some people who loved baklava try it, and they really enjoyed this one.  So it’s just me, and I’m OK with that :) I guess the super sweetness of this particular dessert just isn’t my thing, now I know!
**the more you know**

I am really glad that this challenge taught me how you can make a delicious and flaky phyllo dough at home.  I cannot wait to try it again for a ton of new desserts and maybe some savory creations as well.

The addition of dark chocolate helped me eat as much as I did because I think it helped cut some of the sweet factor from the honey.

Originally I had intended to make 2 loaf pans worth: one with this recipe and the other without honey and with a chocolate and dried cranberry filling.  Sadly I didn’t realize that the host had doubled the recipe to fill a 9” x 9” pan, and by the time I realized this I didn’t have the time to make another batch of dough and let it rest.  That will teach me to skim a recipe!

This was a really fun challenge because I learned a lot and gained some new and valuable skills in the kitchen. Thank you Erica for putting this great challenge together!  I managed to roll the dough so thin that you could read through it, mission accomplished on the phyllo front!

This is the recipe that I had used that was provided by Erica.  It is enough to fill a standard loaf pan perfectly!  I cut the dessert into 16 pieces.  The only change I made was to add dark chocolate chips instead of the pistachios.

Phyllo Dough
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  1. In a medium bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, oil, and vinegar
  3. Slowly add the liquids to the flour while mixing, and continue mixing until a soft dough forms that sticks together
  4. Knead the dough by hand for a few minutes until soft and smooth
  5. Form a ball, and lightly cover it with oil
  6. Wrap tightly in saran wrap and let rest for 1.5 to 2 hours
  7. While the dough is resting, you can make the filling (recipe below)
  8. When the dough has finished resting, remove a small portion of the dough (about 1 tbsp worth of dough) and roll it as thin as possible on a well floured surface. I rolled mine with a rolling pin, and stretched it occasionally to get it as thin as possible
  9. When a piece is rolled as thin as you can get it (ex: you can read notes on a piece of paper through it) set it aside on a floured baking sheet and repeat with another piece of dough (I had about 16 sheets when I was finished)
  10. After all of the dough has been rolled as thin as possible, pile it up neatly and place the loaf pan on top of the pile
  11. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough so that it will fit neatly in the loaf pan
Baklava Filling and Layering the Baklava
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1/2 cup toasted almond slices
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  1. In a food processor add the cinnamon, allspice, nuts, and chocolate chips
  2. Pulse until finely chopped
  3. When ready to assemble the Baklava, preheat the oven to 350 and generously grease the loaf pan 
  4. Brush the bottom of the loaf pan with butter, and then cover it with the first phyllo sheet
  5. Brush the phyllo sheet with butter and then place another phyllo sheet on top.
  6. Repeat until you have four phyllo sheets on top of one another, and the top sheet is brushed with butter
  7. Sprinkle 1/3 of the filling mixture on top
  8. Cover with a phyllo sheet, brush with butter, and repeat until four phyllo sheets are stacked on top of each other
  9. Again sprinkle 1/3 of the filling on top
  10. Repeat the process (4 phyllo sheets each brushed with butter, 1/3 filling) until you end with four phyllo sheets on top
  11. Cut the baklava into 16 pieces, trying to cut all the way through if possible
  12. Generously brush the top with butter, and then place the baklava in the preheated oven
  13. Bake for 30 minutes, while the baklava is baking make the syrup (recipe below)
  14. Remove the baklava and cut the pieces all the way through
  15. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the baklava is a golden brown
  16. Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately pour the syrup evenly over the dessert
  17. Let the baklava cool, then cover and let sit overnight for the syrup to soak in
  18. Enjoy!
Baklava Syrup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 piece (about 2" x 2") lemon peel
  • pinch of ground cloves
  1. While the baklava is baking, prepare the syrup
  2. In a small pot over medium heat, combine all ingredients 
  3. Stir until all of the sugar has dissolved, and let it gently boil for about 10 minutes
  4. Remove from heat, and take out the cinnamon stick and lemon peel
  5. Set aside until ready to pour over the baklava
  6. When the baklava is finished baking, evenly pour the syrup over the dish
  7. Let sit overnight to soak in
  8. Enjoy!


  1. Oh dear! I'm so sorry you didn't like your baklava :( I have a friend who doesn't like sweet things much but loves baklava WITHOUT the syrup :)

  2. Hi Miri! I think your friend has the right idea haha I think I would love it without the syrup too! :) it was a lot of fun to make though

  3. Glad to hear you had fun making it even if you didn't really like the end result. Your baklava looks wonderful!

  4. Sorry you weren't a fan of the baklava, but glad that you had friends who are! :-) Beautiful job.

  5. wow, your baklava looks nice and gooey! i should have added chocolate too, maybe i would have liked it more... i'm also not a fan of this dessert :( yours look great :)

  6. your baklava looks so good. I love the dark syrup. Glad you enjoyed the challenge