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!

[print_this]Recipe: Baklava
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Summary: Baklava, a sweet rich pastry made with layers of phyllo dough and nuts sweetened with simple syrup. Exquisite and outstanding make ahead dessert.{Minimally adapted from following recipes}

Phyllo Dough Recipe – Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers
Baklava – Adapted from Alton Brown, Food Network

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours + overnight rest

  • Phyllo Dough:
    *Note 1: To have enough to fill a 9” x 9” baking dish with 18 layers of phyllo I doubled this recipe.
    *Note 2: Single recipe will fill a 8” x 5” baking dish.
    *Note 3: Dough can be made a head of time and froze. Just remove from freezer and allow to thaw and continue making your baklava
  • 185gm all purpose {plain} flour
  • 1/8tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup less 1 tbsp water, plus more if needed
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
  • 1/2 tsp cider vinegar, {could substitute white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar, but could affect the taste}


  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt. Mix with paddle attachment.
  2. Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.
  3. Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water.
    Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process.
  5. Thermomix: Place all ingredients in the bowl of the TM. Process on Speed 6 for 7 seconds. Then knead on bread setting for 3.5 minutes. Turn onto counter, roll into a neat ball.
  6. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil
  7. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 30-90 minutes, longer is best {Mine rested for 2 days and it was still perfect}
  8. Rolling your Phyllo
    ** Remove all rings and jewelry so it does not snag the dough**
    Use whatever means you have to get the dough as thin as you can.
  9. Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly smaller than a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out. Be sure to flour your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-flour.
  10. Roll out the dough until it is as thin as you can it. Don’t worry if you get rips in the dough, as long as you have one perfect one for the top you will never notice.
  11. When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. NOTE: you will not get it as thin as the frozen phyllo dough you purchase at the store, it is made by machine
  12. Set aside on a well-floured surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up. Between each sheet again flower well. You will not need to cover your dough with a wet cloth, as you do with boxed dough, it is moist enough that it will not try out.

Ingredients for Syrup:

  • 150ml honey
  • 150ml water
  • 140gms sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 pieces candied orange peel {or fresh}
  • A few cloves or a pinch or ground clove {I forgot this}


  1. When you put your baklava in the oven start making your syrup. When you combine the two, one of them needs to be hot, I find it better when the baklava is hot and the syrup has cooled.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.
  4. Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain cinnamon stick and orange, allow to cool as baklava cooks.

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 85gm blanched almonds
  • 80gm raw walnuts
  • 75gm raw pistachios
  • 75gm sugar
  • Phyllo dough {see recipe above}
  • 100gm {1/2 cup} melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
  2. Combine nuts, sugar and spices in a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor chop with a sharp knife as fine as you can. Set aside.
  3. Thermomix: PLace all ingredients in TM bowl. Process on Speed 6 for 5 seconds. Repeat 3-4 times till you get the consistency you desire.
  4. Trim your phyllo sheets to fit in your pan.
  5. Brush bottom of pan with butter and place first phyllo sheet.Brush the first phyllo sheet with butter and repeat approximately 5 times ending with butter. {Most recipes say more, but homemade phyllo is thicker so it’s not needed}
  6. Sprinkle 1/2 of the nut mixture on top.
  7. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times.
  8. Sprinkle 1/2 of the nut mixture on top.
  9. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 .
  10. On the top layer, make sure you have a piece of phyllo with no holes if possible, just looks better.
  11. Once you have applied the top layer tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearance.
  12. With a sharp knife cut your baklava in desired shapes and number of pieces. If you can’t cut all the ways through don’t worry you will cut again later. A 9×9 pan cuts nicely into 30 pieces. Then brush with a generous layer of butter making sure to cover every area and edge.
  13. Bake for approximately 30 minutes; remove from oven and cut again this time all the way through. Continue baking for another 30 minutes. {Oven temperatures will vary, you are looking for the top to be a golden brown, take close watch yours may need more or less time in the oven}.
  14. When baklava is cooked remove from oven and pour the cooled {will still be warmish} syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring. It looks like it is a lot but over night the syrup will soak into the baklava creating a beautifully sweet and wonderfully textured baklava!
    Next morning all syrup is absorbed.
  15. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled cover and store at room temperature. Allow the baklava to sit overnight to absorb the syrup.
    Serve at room temperature.


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



  • 5 years ago

    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.

  • Shweta j
    5 years ago

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

  • Ritu
    5 years ago

    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!!!!

  • 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!

  • 5 years ago

    Deliciously done yummy dessert and that too homemade from scratch… Looks so gorgeous…

  • 5 years ago

    Very well done! Your baklava look fantastic!



  • 5 years ago

    The pink petals on the Baklava make it so pretty. Looks superb

  • 5 years ago

    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!

  • 5 years ago

    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.

  • 5 years ago

    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 .

  • 5 years ago

    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.

  • 5 years ago

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

  • 5 years ago

    Stunning and super gorgeous baklava, mindblowing..

  • 5 years ago

    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.

  • Phyllo dough from scratch? You’re my hero!

  • 5 years ago

    So impressed that you made this from scratch. Another vote for your Thermomix too. Love the pink rose petals. You really are daring…

  • 5 years ago

    So beautiful. Looks delicious and I love your styling and photos.

  • 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 🙂

  • Sumanjit Kaur Tripathy
    5 years ago

    WOW !!
    Have never tried these …

  • 5 years ago

    Wonderful photos! The baklava looks yummie! Would you send me a slice please? 🙂

  • 5 years ago

    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!

  • 5 years ago

    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!!!

  • 5 years ago

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

  • 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!!

  • 5 years ago

    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.

  • 5 years ago

    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

  • 5 years ago

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

  • 5 years ago

    Oh my they looks so good. Baklava are one of my fav dessert. Great looking pics.

  • 5 years ago

    Love your Baklava, and those rose petals! Perfect slices.

  • Shilpa
    5 years ago

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


  • Your baklava is a work of art..and I can’t even begin to describe your pictures..
    amazing job on this month’s challenge

  • 5 years ago

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

  • Mmm that looks fantastic! I’ve been meaning to try this for a while.

  • 5 years ago

    I cant decide whether your photography or your bakalava is more beautiful, so I decided on a tie!

  • 5 years ago

    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!

  • Patri
    5 years ago

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

  • 5 years ago

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

  • 5 years ago

    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!

  • Arti
    5 years ago

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

  • 5 years ago

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

  • 5 years ago

    Your baklava looks great! Very nice presentation.

  • gajra
    5 years ago

    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.

  • 5 years ago

    A great recipe and a delicious and precious baklava!.

  • 5 years ago

    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!

  • Samruddhi
    5 years ago

    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.

  • From scratch phyllo?! I am amazed at your baking prowess!

  • 5 years ago

    The baklava looks great.

  • 5 years ago

    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!

  • 5 years ago

    What beautiful baklava! I would have never considered making my own phyllo dough if I hadn’t read your encouraging words.

  • 5 years ago

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

  • 5 years ago

    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

  • 5 years ago

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

  • 5 years ago

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

  • 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.

  • 5 years ago

    These are truly beautifull. Allways a pleasure visiting this blog.

  • 5 years ago

    Your pictures are so breathtakingly beautiful! Excellent job on this month’s challenge, your baklava looks so delicious!

  • 5 years ago

    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

  • 5 years ago

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

  • 5 years ago

    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)!

  • 5 years ago

    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)

  • 5 years ago

    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!

  • Twinsy Rachel Abraham
    5 years ago

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

  • 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 🙂

  • 5 years ago

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

  • 5 years ago

    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.

  • Erica
    5 years ago

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

  • Gopika
    5 years ago

    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 🙂

  • 5 years ago

    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!

  • Bernie
    4 years ago

    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! 🙂

  • 4 years ago

    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.. 🙂

  • 3 years ago

    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….

    • 3 years ago

      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?

  • 2 years ago

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

  • Melissa
    4 months ago

    It was not clear in the notes that if you are doubling the filo ingredients, do you also double the syrup and filling ingredients too? Hope I get an answer soon, can’t wait to get baking!!!

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