Baking| Phyllo to Baklava with Daring Bakers …layers of fun!

“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.”
Aristotle Onassis

Baklava BAKLAVA, importantly homemade phyllo pastry has been on my list of things to do forever. I am SO GLAD I made this exquisite dessert. It’s the best ‘from scratch fine pastry dessert‘ I’ve made of late, one I meant to do for ages. A Daring Baker challenge I had no intention of missing, yet I very nearly did! The process seemed intimidating, but was eventually a beautiful experience; the end result bowled me over!Baklava

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.

It was many years ago. Tweeting in 2009 with Peter @ Kalofagas got me inspired and I headed over to check out the first of his inspirational Baklava series. He’s also done one on making phyllo from scratch {his version uses yeast in the dough} ending in a delicious looking Spanakopita made under the watchful eye of his Mum. { This man is the Greek god of good food!This was one thing I had to master but life got the better of me, and time whizzed by, somewhat out of control.Sydney June 2011I haven’t been anywhere on the net for ages… no twitter, no face-book, no blogs and it’s all down to the kids summer vacations! Out of town for 2 weeks {a trip to HKG and Down Under} and many to-do’s have been lost – my ‘have to do macarons for Mactweets. I struggle to feed the blog, get a pup for the kids, reply to an infinite number of mails … I’m clearly beginning to feel the pressure!But this I HAD to make and the process was absolutely joyful. I love the rolling pin, and the dough was silky beautiful. As we are a country that makes fresh thin flat bread for practically every meal, rolling was fun and the only thing that took a little while. The trusted Thermomix kneaded the dough in a flash …thank heavens for it! It also chopped the nuts as fine as could be in nano seconds … a blessing in disguise.Baklava Baklava, a sweet rich pastry made with layers of phyllo dough and nuts sweetened with simple syrup. It is widely knows as a Greek dessert, but it’s origin has really never been pinpointed as many Middle Eastern countries also name it as their own. There are local versions from Iran, Turkey, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia and Cyprus.

BaklavaThe end product was as exquisite. The phyllo was easy to handle and layered to perfection. I made the whole portion of the dough {didn’t read the fine print} so fell slightly short of layers, but that wasn’t a problem. Layered deserts are always easy to fiddle around with! I halved the filling and the syrup.  This has been one of the best Daring Baker challenges I’ve enjoyed so far. The phyllo from scratch recipe was similar to the pastry we made for the earlier ‘Strudel‘ for Daring Bakers 2 years ago. The filling was an endearing blend of nuts, sugar and cinnamon all balanced beautifully… an Alton Brown recipe {I forgot the cloves… sigh}.  The soaking honey syrup with orange and cinnamon completed the Middle Eastern charm …. left us longing for more!BaklavaIt looked ever so pretty as well though I didn’t stray from the challenge recipe and typical appearance. I loved pouring the cool syrup over the hot, freshly baked baklava, the crackling sound music to the ears! I have to make this again one day, and try the many charming different versions at Kalofogas including Baklava cigars or Baklava Daisies.Baklava

Thank you Erica for an outstanding daring challenge; it was a beautiful one, very fulfilling. Thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!! Do stop by here to see the beautiful baklava our other daring bakers have rolled from scratch!

Oh, I had to tell you that my friends at Ergo Chef are giving away a fabulous 13 Piece Guy Fieri “Battle Station” 13 piece block set. If you’d like to win it, do stop by soon as the contest ends 4th of July. Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  1. Now I really regret I didn’t find time to do this month’s challenge. Your baklava looks fabulous. Love the rose petals on top.
    Barbara Bakes´s last blog post ..Light Creamy Pesto RavioliMy Profile

  2. Shweta j says:

    This looks so much appealing to the eye ! Thank you so much for the recipe : )

  3. Hi Deepa
    So glad to see this!! I spent three hours last night looking for an appropriate recipe for phyllo sheet !!
    This tops on my ‘to do’ list for the day!!!!

  4. When looking for a layer-friendly recipe for my recent video, I was very keen on trying the baklava, but was greatly intimidated by the phyllo. Especially because we don’t get it here. So ended up with the Bebinca. But this looks so do-able! I’m off to check my stores! Lovely pictures as usual, too!
    Saee Koranne-Khandekar´s last blog post ..Recipe video: BebincaMy Profile

  5. Deliciously done yummy dessert and that too homemade from scratch… Looks so gorgeous…
    Vimitha´s last blog post ..Broccoli Stir Fry | Healthy LBRMy Profile

  6. Very well done! Your baklava look fantastic!



  7. The pink petals on the Baklava make it so pretty. Looks superb
    Indu´s last blog post ..Loaded Beef Sandwich When You Are On A Hunger Strike!My Profile

  8. Absolutely sensational. After living in the Mid. East for a large part of my life – this is my absolute favorite sweet treat. It also reminds me that I made some baklava a while back and should post it soon. LOL! Nice one my friend!
    meeta´s last blog post ..Minty Peach and Watermelon Salad with Feta CheeseMy Profile

  9. WOWOWOWOW OMG your photos are exquisite and so elegant you did a fabulous job on this challenge I can tell you REALLY enjoyed and loved this recipe so much. Bravo to you and kudos for an excellent result.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.
    Audax Artifex´s last blog post ..June 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge BaklavaMy Profile

  10. Sorry if this is a double post but the first one didn’t go through I think.

    Marvellous results and your photographs are exquisite and I can REALLY tell that you enjoyed this challenge so much. Simply beautiful work kudos to you.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia .
    Audax Artifex´s last blog post ..June 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge BaklavaMy Profile

  11. Thanks for sharing your experience with this dessert. It looks absolutely stunning! I decided not to participate to this challenge because I am traveling and in a very hot country. I would love to try this challenge once back home.

  12. Absolutely stunning pics, i luv the way you have topped some rose petals on the baklava. Jst lovely so very awed by your pics.

  13. Stunning and super gorgeous baklava, mindblowing..
    Priya´s last blog post ..Mushroom & Poha ChopsMy Profile

  14. Wowo love yours and looks perfect and yumm. I love the dessert uthad to give it a miss this one as nobody is there to eat them adn making jsut for me alone well that would be too much.
    Happy Cook / Finla´s last blog post ..Strawberry Cheese CupcakeMy Profile

  15. Phyllo dough from scratch? You’re my hero!
    Miriam/The Winter Guest´s last blog post ..School of tapas: Chorizo a la sidraMy Profile

  16. So impressed that you made this from scratch. Another vote for your Thermomix too. Love the pink rose petals. You really are daring…
    Sally Prosser´s last blog post ..Perfect panna cotta – Come Dine With Me Dubai (part 5)My Profile

  17. So beautiful. Looks delicious and I love your styling and photos.
    Kavey´s last blog post ..What’s Your Ultimate Burger?My Profile

  18. I have tasted baklava at the Turkish shop in Saket but never attempted to make it. Only yesterday was I rummaging through recipes that required phyllo pastry but I relented. Anyhow, it looks so beautiful, my heart would hurt to eat it :)
    Khushboo @ Two Megapixel Food´s last blog post ..Whole Wheat Nutella, Peanut Butter & Banana PancakesMy Profile

  19. Sumanjit Kaur Tripathy says:

    WOW !!
    Have never tried these …

  20. Wonderful photos! The baklava looks yummie! Would you send me a slice please? :)
    Zita´s last blog post ..Vegan Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

  21. Bravo Deeba, this is your first time making your own phyllo and I’m sure you had a great feeling of triumph! Cheers and thanks for the link-luv too!

  22. My own mom was not an accimplsihed cook and yet I couild watch her make strudel dough look easy. Filo is similar, only even thinner and I have neve attempted it!!!
    bellini´s last blog post ..Summer Fresh Red Pepper Hummus SushiMy Profile

  23. Gorgeous photos! You must spend ages getting so many lovely ones!

  24. Dee been missing you around! U r my hero – from scratch? Wow. And I have seen many baklavas around the web but yours look absolutely perfect!!
    Kulsum at JourneyKitchen´s last blog post ..Blueberry Buttermilk PancakesMy Profile

  25. Deeba, you are a true artist. It is a pleasure to come to your blog and see your amazing creations. Your baklava is stunning – you did an amazing job. Your photos, your writing, the care you take with everything you do – you amaze me.
    Shelley C´s last blog post ..June Daring Bakers’ Challenge – BaklavaMy Profile

  26. Gosh those are so pretty. Baklava is one of my all time favorite treats, but I’ve never attempted making it. I think when I do finally get around to it, I’d do the cigar shaped ones because I’m afraid if I tried cutting the little diamond shapes they’d totally fall apart all.
    *kisses* HH
    Heavenly Housewife´s last blog post ..HH Goes to School with Yotam OttolenghiMy Profile

  27. Absolutely beautiful! This is something I have on my list of things to make too. Sadly I missed the challenge. Maybe for the holidays…

  28. Oh my they looks so good. Baklava are one of my fav dessert. Great looking pics.
    Helene´s last blog post ..Homemade Oreos.My Profile

  29. Love your Baklava, and those rose petals! Perfect slices.
    Sanjeeta kk´s last blog post ..Baklava – A Sweet Indulgence with Wheatgerm and Healthy Nuts & FruitsMy Profile

  30. Shilpa says:

    I love baklava…seems tricky but one one day will give it a try for sure…Amazing pictures as always…

    Shilpa´s last blog post ..Spelt Flour + A Burst of Vegetables + Seeds = Tasty DelightsMy Profile

  31. Your baklava is a work of art..and I can’t even begin to describe your pictures..
    amazing job on this month’s challenge
    Sawsan@chef in disguise´s last blog post ..From Phyllo to baklava..Daring Bakers June challengeMy Profile

  32. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I wanted to reach through my screen and grab a piece of your baklava, great job!

  33. Mmm that looks fantastic! I’ve been meaning to try this for a while.
    Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets´s last blog post ..Cool It! (Spiked Watermelon Cooler)My Profile

  34. I cant decide whether your photography or your bakalava is more beautiful, so I decided on a tie!
    GourmAndrea´s last blog post ..BaklavaMy Profile

  35. Stunning presentation! I’ve always wanted to make Baklava from scratch, too, but the home-made phyllo dough takes it right over the top! Lovely!

  36. Patri says:

    Wonderful presentation, and I agree, it is heavenly! Congrats on a great challenge

  37. Your pictures are just beautiful!!! Love the layers and the colors you used. SO glad that you got to fulfill one of your goals!

  38. Deeba, you are the only one who can probably make something as exquisite as the Baklava look even more exquisite :)…loved your Baklava, its perfect and makes me want to pick up one right away. Well done!
    Namratha´s last blog post ..Baklava for the Daring BakersMy Profile

  39. Baklava from scratch?!! Amazing!!! The pictures are sooooooo delicious!!

  40. WOW!!!, incredible job, you are an artist

  41. Your baklava looks great! Very nice presentation.

  42. kudos on the gigantic attempt Deeba and this so soon after you’ve been back frm hols. i admire ur grit ur Baklava reminds me of my days in Dubai i loved these treats, and ur sweet just made me reminisce.

  43. A great recipe and a delicious and precious baklava!.
    Laube´s last blog post ..Sopa de berros y limónMy Profile

  44. Deeba, I am so impressed with your busy summer that you took the time to make this fabulous recipe! It turned out beautifully, but then everything you do is lovely. And the various ways you presented your baklava are both charming AND tempting!
    Barbara´s last blog post ..The Picnic Game: Cherry Bars in a JarMy Profile

  45. Samruddhi says:

    Deeba, you are a real artist,cant nelieve that you made this for the first time…seems like you are master of it already….and ofcourse your pictures make them so wanted..
    hats off to you.

  46. From scratch phyllo?! I am amazed at your baking prowess!
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen´s last blog post ..watermelon, heirloom tomato and feta salad | picking the perfect melonMy Profile

  47. The baklava looks great.
    Joy´s last blog post ..When is it Too MuchMy Profile

  48. Wow, your final result is gorgeous – so classic with the diamond shapes, and the rose petals! I love the “in progress” shots as well. Great job on this challenge!
    Korena´s last blog post ..Daring Bakers: Baklava with Homemade Phyllo Pastry!My Profile

  49. What beautiful baklava! I would have never considered making my own phyllo dough if I hadn’t read your encouraging words.
    Maureen´s last blog post ..Pork Tenderloin with Wattle Seed Cream SauceMy Profile

  50. This looks so beautiful. I love that you made the phyllo dough from scratch. Way impressed.

  51. Your take on the challenge looks fabulous as usual dear Deeba. The perfect diamonds look so refined. I love that photo of the kids facing off the seagulls! I’m guessing that was at Manly? Hoping you’re getting some time to yourself and things have calmed down a bit now. x

  52. I was waiting for a baklava recipe from you, as I wanted to learn to make it from scratch. It looks lovely.

  53. wow, your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! the dessert looks great, and the plating is beautiful! awesome post!

  54. Beautiful photos! The layers in your baklava look perfect, and I love the splash of pink color with the flower petals. Excellent job on the challenge.

  55. These are truly beautifull. Allways a pleasure visiting this blog.
    Fujiia´s last blog post ..Daring Bakers: from phyllo to baklavaMy Profile

  56. Your pictures are so breathtakingly beautiful! Excellent job on this month’s challenge, your baklava looks so delicious!
    chef_d´s last blog post ..THE DARING BAKERS’ JUNE, 2011 CHALLENGE: FROM PHYLLO TO BAKLAVA!!My Profile

  57. Oh my Deeba, making phyllo dough from scratch how impressive!! I am not intimidated much but this yes! the baklava looks amazing!! Your vacation photos especially the beach line and the kids of course all stunning! So impressed and even more appreciative you taking on you know what considering all that going on in your life. You are the best! Shulie

  58. Deeba, your Baklava looks and sounds amazing! As always, your photos are stunning, and the pink petals are so charming! Love it!

  59. Deeba, I know this post is last week’s news, but the baklava looks like it really fabulous. Wish I had the practice of rolling dough thin. I was supposed to do this, and have been so numbingly absent from the daring bakers challenges…but things are settling and I so wanted to do this one. I think I’ll do it anyway, late. Anyway, thanks for making it look fun and easy (and delicious)!
    Amanda´s last blog post ..Good to be homeMy Profile

  60. Oh Deeba – too gorgeous! You are far braver than me making the pastry from scratch – I am more of a baklava end-user hahaha! And I forget that yo ualso have a Thermomix. I want one when I grow up ;o)
    Jeanne @ CookSister!´s last blog post ..Tibits – a vegetarian restaurant with a twistMy Profile

  61. Stunning baklava, Deeba! So glad you were able to give this recipe a try in between all the fun it sounds like you have been having. Nice job on the challenge!

  62. Twinsy Rachel Abraham says:

    Impressive… Once again u have inspired me to do this though am still apprehensive.. anywayz great job :)

  63. These look so perfect, your pastry turned out wonderfully! I dont know if i would dare attempt the pastry myself, but I am definitely saving this for the filling and syrup which sound irresistibly yummy :)
    Sasha @ The Procrastobaker´s last blog post ..The Best Coffee CakeMy Profile

  64. baklava is a Turkish dessert. but this is also very nice.

  65. Wow those look incredibly beautiful! And so perfect :) I love baklava but I’ve never made it on my own. I’m be a little afraid to make the pastry on my own, but these look so gorgeous.
    Heidi @ Food Doodles´s last blog post ..Garlic Fried RiceMy Profile

  66. Erica says:

    I am so glad you enjoyed the challenge so much. Your baklava looks wonderful! Your post is amazing such beautiful photos as well

  67. Gopika says:

    Woww.. I love your Baklava.. Me and A are die-hard fans of Baklava at the Phoenicia Deli here. Yours looks just like those. I am going to try my hands on these.

    I have a question, is it possible to replace vinegar with anything else? Is it a very important ingredient for the Baklava?

    Love your blog :)

  68. Came across your page first time today. Love your photography, amazing.
    I tried making Baklava from phyllo dough sheets day before, didn’t put many layers (just 4 bottom, 4 middle, 4 top), but baked only 20 minutes @350F & the nuts were tasting burnt. My husband said I created a new dish “Smoked Baklava”. Hehe.
    Anyway, I’m surprised how come you baked for 30 + 30 minutes.
    And I’d love, love, love to see a video of you making this phyllo dough from scratch! Couldn’t guess from your photos that the thin sheets were homemade. This is perfection!
    Nisha´s last blog post ..Chana Dal Amti (Maharashtrian Style) RecipeMy Profile

  69. Bernie says:

    Quick question. I want to (and plan on) making this very soon but if you leave on the syrup wont it get soggy? Especially overnight? I thought you always poured it on before serving. Please correct me if im wrong! :)

  70. Hi, I am crazy about baklava desserts and simply love to cook baklava at home for my family and friends. I really liked the above recipe and it is written and described in so simple way. And the pictorial representation for the Baklava Recipe is just awesome, one can easily depict his/her dish while making the above recipe and check whether moving in right direction.
    Thanks for sharing.. :)

  71. Hi Deeba,

    One small doubt…

    When you say rest the dough….it has to be rest at room temperature? How to decide that dough is ready for rolling….
    Hina´s last blog post ..The Traditional Phirni And The Festival Of Lights – DiwaliMy Profile

    • Hi HIna, the dough in this case is rested for about an hour to allow the gluten strands to develop, and in turn elasticity. If it’s warm, you could place the dough in the fridge. Else just let it sit on the counter. After about an hour, when you roll the dough really thin, you will find it doesn’t keep shrinking back. Does this make sense?

  72. I bet this would be good with a freshly brewed dark roast coffee.

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