During my recent trip to Canadia, I learned this baklava recipe. I had a pretty insane reaction to it. You could say I was eating it the way zombies go for brains. Anyhoo, I knew that I had to feature it and fortunately, my friend’s wife was able to share the recipe. Without further delay, I present to you Holly’s Syrian Style Baklava.
I have never met anyone who doesn’t love this baklava. People who say they hate baklava try one piece and their eyes cross and then I have to hide the rest of the pan. People who swear that honey and rosewater make them gag, that they can’t stand pistachios, that baklava is just too rich or sticky or soggy or whatever, they love this baklava. I went through a four-month stretch where I was not allowed to show up at a social function without this baklava. It’s really good, is what I’m saying. Crisp layers of golden pastry, filled with fragrant walnuts and cinnamon, and oozing sugar syrup. Oh my God. It tastes like Christmas with extra butter.
The secret is, it’s also really easy, if a little tedious. And it’s pretty forgiving. I routinely forget the sugar syrup ratio or mess with the spices, I usually use salted butter, and I hand-chop the walnuts if I don’t have access to a food processor. This baklava will make you look like a rockstar at your next dinner party. It is a total ace-in-the-hole kind of recipe. I stole it from my mother, who learned it from a Greek friend, but we actually think it may be Syrian-style. There’s no honey, and the lemon and cloves cut the sweetness just enough. The recipe below is the original, with my annotations. The only special equipment you’ll need is a pastry brush.
Make this baklava, you will not be disappointed.
Note from Holly: Powdered cinnamon is just fine if that’s all you have. I also sometimes toss in a few cloves.
Note from Holly: You can find fillo (phyllo, filo) dough at most supermarkets in the frozen foods aisle, usually near the puff pastry and Sara Lee. It thaws in a few hours in the refrigerator, which is best, or you can thaw it in about an hour on the countertop if you’re desperate.
Note from Holly: Brushing the fillo with butter after you’ve put it on the walnut mixture can be tricky – use a light hand with the brush, and don’t worry if you tear the sheet. Nobody will notice.