Baklava, baklava, baklava! It’s such an amazingly perfect dessert, but it’s often time-consuming to make. I’m so nuts (pun intended!) about baklava that I made a simpler, rolled variation that you can make much quicker.
Baklava, aka Baklawa is a Middle-Eastern dessert whose origins may go as far back as B.C times to the Assyrian civilization. Through the centuries, many neighboring countries adopted the delicacy and created their own versions. Today there are dozens of types of “Baklava” grouped in Lebanese Cuisine under “Arabic Sweets”. In its basic form, Baklava is made of fillo dough, nuts, and sugar syrup and in this post, we’re going to feature a simple recipe of walnut Baklava “fingers.”
Hands down, this will be the easiest rolled baklava recipe you will come across. It’s flaky, chewy, nutty, and so yummy. Just to give you a fair warning, you might have trouble observing a diet with this one. The first time I made this recipe, I was hoping to share it with friends, but it was gone too quickly and too soon. More so, it combines all my favorite things about cooking — a helpful shortcut, a small ingredient list, and no skimping on the sugar.
Baklava Rolls Recipe
Where Did Baklava Originate?
This scrumptious dessert is not only seeped in honey but also history. The earliest records of baklava recipes date back to early as the 8th century B.C. Today, many ethnic groups make baklava and have variations of the dessert. From the Greeks to the Turks, every chef has their style of baklava and that makes the eating all the greater. Variety is the spice of life, right?
What Baklava is Made of
If you have had baklava before, you know it is as decadent as it gets. To make it, you alternate layers of phyllo dough with chopped walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, and butter or ghee. After you bake your baklava, you will drench it with melted honey and let it soak in all the sweetness for several hours.
Different Varieties of Baklava
There are so many different types of baklava out there. Some chefs use ground pistachio instead of walnuts, while others use almonds. Some people also like to bake their baklava like cakes. Others like a spicier nut mixture packed with ground cloves and cinnamon. For this recipe, you will use my rolling method to skip some of the manual labor. When I created this easier version, I didn’t realize how dangerous it was going to be to have baklava on the table so fast!
How to Make this Rolled Baklava Recipe
Preparing this rolled baklava recipe takes just 20 minutes of prep time – almost a quarter less total time than traditional baklava!
- Chop the Nuts: Use a food processor to chop the nuts into tiny pieces.
- Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, toss the chopped nuts with confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon. In a small bowl, melt the butter.
- Prepare the Sheets of Phyllo Dough: On a large cutting board, lay out the phyllo one sheet at a time, brushing each with melted butter.
- Assemble the Rolled Baklava: Sprinkle the nut mixture onto the buttered sheets and roll up the phyllo into a tight roll. Place the baklava log into a baking pan and repeat the rolling process until you run out of ingredients.
- Brush the Rolled Baklava: Brush the rolled baklava with melted butter.
- Bake the Rolled Baklava: Pop the baking dish in the oven at 375°F for 25 minutes.
- Soak the Rolled Baklava: In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and boil it on low for 10 minutes. Optionally, add a few cinnamon sticks in while the syrup comes together. Add in the honey and stir to combine. Pour the sweet mixture over the baking tray and let it soak at room temperature for 3 hours.
- Slice the Baklava: Slice the baklava into bite-sized pieces and decorate each piece with a clove if you wish.
Hot Tip: To make the syrup more citrusy, add a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or orange blossom water to the mix.
Tips for Making this Rolled Baklava Recipe
If you’re used to making traditional baklava, this rolled variation has some slight differences. These tips will help you nail the process.
- Use a food processor to chop the nuts. Use a food processor to chop your walnuts and save yourself a battle with a knife. You will need to pulse them about 10 times to get them to the correct coarseness.
- Be swift with the phyllo. Work with your phyllo dough as quickly as possible to prevent it from drying out. The longer it sits at room temperature, the more prone it is to be too difficult to work with and roll.
- Roll the phyllo as tightly as possible. Roll your rolls are tight as possible to ensure that you have even and smooth layers on the inside.
- Soak the baklava while it’s still hot. Pour the honey and sugar mixture on your baklava rolls while they are still hot. This will help them to soak up the mixture much better.
- Slice the baklava at an angle. Cut your baklava pieces at an angle with a sharp knife. I like to use a bread knife in a light, sawing motion to make sure all the pretty layers stay intact.
- Let the baklava rest at room temperature. You must let your baklava rest at room temperature for at least 3 hours uncovered. If you can, overnight works best.
How to Keep Baklava from Getting Soggy
Keep your baklava from getting soggy by covering it lightly with a paper towel. You can store it in the fridge or at room temperature once you have given it enough time to soak up the honey and sugar mixture. Whatever you do, don’t keep it sealed in a warm place – otherwise, the honey will melt and cause the delicate phyllo to become limp.
Freezing this Rolled Baklava Recipe
Freeze your baklava in an airtight container for up to 3 months. If you have to layer your pieces, make sure to place a piece of wax paper between them to prevent sticking. When you are ready to eat, allow the baklava to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- How do you make crunchy baklava?
The key to getting crunchy baklava is to allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 3 hours while it’s soaking in the sweet, honey mixture. This will allow the baklava to absorb all the sugary goodness, while also exposing it to enough air to stay crunchy and slightly crispy.
- What’s the difference between the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern baklava?
Mediterranean baklava tends to have more layering, with many thin pieces of phyllo alternated with a sweet nut mixture. On the other hand, baklava in the Middle East tends to have a thicker pastry layer on the bottom that’s stuffed with a sweet nut mixture and topped with another thick layer of pastry.
- How do you know when baklava is done?
You’ll know your baklava is done baking when the top of the phyllo is crispy and golden brown. When it comes to the soaking, it takes at least 3 hours for the syrup to penetrate through all the phyllo and nuts. That said, it’s best to let baklava rest overnight.
- Why is your baklava hard?
Your baklava likely came out hard if you didn’t soak it while it was fresh out of the oven. The hot baklava makes the syrup melt, creating that perfectly tender texture you’re looking for.
- How do you keep phyllo dough crispy for baklava?
The key to keeping the phyllo sheets crispy is working with them quickly once you take them out of the fridge. The longer it sits at room temperature, the more it dries out, loses its texture, and is impossible to crisp up in the oven.
- baking sheet
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- Kitchen knife
- 450 g phyllo dough
- 240 g butter melted
- 1 tsp finely chopped nuts to garnish
For the syrup
- 250 g sugar
- 150 ml water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp honey
For the filling
- 180 g almonds hazelnuts, pistachios , or any nuts
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon optional
To make the syrup
- In a saucepan, add sugar, water, cinnamon stick and lemon juice over high heat, bring to a boil, stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove from the heat, add the honey and stir. Then, set aside to cool completely.
Prepare the filling
- Add almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios in a food processor, pulse until some of the nuts are finely chopped and some roughy chopped. Put the nuts in a bowl, add the ground cinnamon and mix to combine.
- Prepare the Baklava Roll
- Preheat the oven to 160C.
- In a pan, melt the butter over low heat and set it aside.
- Place the phyllo sheets on the kitchen counter and cover them with a towel.
- Grease a 20x30cm baking pan with butter.
- Place one sheet of phyllo on the counter and brush with melted butter.
- Spread 2 tablespoons of the nut filling lengthwise.
- Roll the sheet tightly, then place it in the baking pan. Repeat with the remaining sheets.
- Brush the top with the rest of the melted butter. Use a sharp knife to cut the rolls into equal pieces.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Take it out of the oven and
- pour the cold syrup over it.
- Garnish with finely chopped nuts.
- Make sure that the phyllo dough you buy and use is of the best quality.
- Check if the sheets have tears as well, it is better to use sheets that are soft and have no tears in them so they will not crack while you are working through the recipe.
- Make sure that the syrup is at room temperature before drizzling it over your hot Baklava Rolls, this way, the rolls would still have the crunchy and flaky texture and will not become soggy.
- Add lemon peel to your syrup mixture for that fresh taste.
Use ground clove instead of ground cinnamon if you want your filling to be spicier.
- You may use any nuts in this recipe.
- You can substitute any of the nuts in the ingredient list with walnuts depending on your preference.