What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Baklava always reminds me of New Year's week in Albania. You will find this traditional confection in every home and bakery. Using the help of the grocery store this Easy Baklava will become a new tradition in your family.
There's something about food that instantly transports you to a specific time and place. Whether it's the fragrant aroma wafting through the kitchen, or that first bite, certain dishes instantly bring back memories.
A Holiday Tradition
I love sharing my food traditions with family and friends and this Easy Baklava is one of them. Baklava is truly an iconic New Year's dessert in Albania. This rich and decadent dish is the perfect bite to celebrate with and always starts the new year like.
While there are multiple variations of baklava depending on region, Albanian baklava consists of phyllo dough, walnuts, and an irresistible sticky syrup. To help make this baklava more accessible and easier we're using store bought phyllo dough. You can find phyllo dough in the frozen foods section of your grocery store usually next to the puff pastry.
This is also a fun dessert to get your family involved in. With just a few ingredients, creating this dessert is about the process and layering. Spread, sprinkle, layer, repeat! You can make a tradition of not just serving and eating this, but create memories in the baking itself.
Cutting into Easy Baklava
We're already taking some of the work out of this dish by not making our own phyllo dough. To help it be even easier I will take you through all of the steps as well as give you some tips so you can ring in the new year with this sweet treat.
- Thaw your phyllo dough out according to the package directions. For the best results you want to make sure your phyllo dough is at room temperature.
- Work with 2-3 sheets of phyllo dough at a time. To prevent the remaining dough from drying out keep it covered with a damp towel.
- Gently brush or drizzle melted butter over the layers. A pastry brush works well for this. You don't want to tear the delicate sheets.
- Make sure your walnuts are finely chopped. You can buy already ground walnuts but a food processor works great for this. Just pulse until they are sandy.
- Combine the sugar and ground walnuts together.
- Sprinkle the walnuts onto the buttered phyllo dough, and then add another layer of phyllo dough. I usually do 10-15 layers of phyllo. Make sure to brush the top with butter.
- It's very important to cut your baklava before baking. It's traditional to cut on the diagonal and make diamond shapes.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour until the Easy Baklava is golden brown.
- While the baklava is baking make your syrup. Bring the ingredients to a simmer and allow to cook until the sugar is fully dissolved. Let cool.
- Once the baklava cool and then pour the syrup over the top. You want to allow it to absorb all of the liquid before serving, so let it set in the refrigerator for a few hours.
- To make these easy to serve, you can place individual pieces in cupcake liners, or you can serve straight from the pan.
Are you looking for more easy recipes? Make sure you check out my recipe for Beer Battered Shrimp with Tartar Sauce, another fun recipe perfect for entertaining.
- 9x13 baking dish
- 1 pkg phyllo dough, defrosted
- 4 cups ground walnuts
- 4 sticks butter, melted
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- juice of ½ lemon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the ground walnuts and sugar together and set aside.
- Lay 2-3 sheets of phyllo dough into your baking dish.
- Brush or drizzle melted butter onto the phyllo, making sure the entire length is covered.
- Sprinkle the walnut/sugar combination evenly onto the buttered phyllo.
- Add another 2-3 sheets of phyllo dough.
- Brush or drizzle with butter, followed by sprinkling evenly with the walnuts.
- Repeat the process. I usually do 10-15 layers of phyllo. End with brushing the top with butter.
- Cut your unbaked baklava. The traditional design is diagonal, diamond shapes.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown.
- Allow to cool.
- Pour the syrup all over the top. Allow the syrup to absorb into the baklava completely and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.
- While the baklava is baking, combine the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring to a simmer. Occasionally stir, allowing the sugar to dissolve completely.