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Pistachio Baklava

Pistachio Baklava

The first time I tried pistachio baklava, I’m pretty sure my brain exploded.  I had never tasted anything like, but I loved it instantly.  Buttery dough, nutty pistachios, and sweet syrup are all combined in a bite-sized treat.  Who could ask for more?  Since then, I eat it every time it’s available (i.e., every time my brother-in-law sends sweets home from Lebanon).  Last year, I visited Lebanon and I got an opportunity to go to my favorite Lebanese sweet shop, Abdul Rahman Hallab.  Check out my review here!

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Ingredients for phyllo dough:
  • Box of frozen phyllo dough (2 rolls, 16oz)1
Thawing phyllo dough:

Remove the phyllo dough from the freezer before making the simple syrup to allow enough time for the dough to completely thaw and come to room temperature.  This will take approximately 2-3 hours for the dough to thaw completely.  Take the rolls out of the box, but do not open the plastic bags.  Phyllo dough dries out very quickly, so the closed plastic is keeping the dough moist while thawing.

Pistachio Baklava Simple Syrup Ingredients
Ingredients for simple syrup:
Making Simple Syrup:

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove.  Heat the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Remove the saucepan from the stove and cool to room temperature.  Remove the cinnamon stick after the syrup has cooled.  Typically, there is a small amount of foam that forms while making the simple syrup.  You can leave this on the top or you can skim it off (I usually do this because it makes the syrup look nicer).  It will not affect the flavor or look of the finished baklava.  While the syrup is cooling, make the baklava. 

Pistachio Baklava ingredients:
Pistachio Baklava Ingredients
Making the nut filling:

Place ground pistachios and sugar into a medium bowl and stir to combine.  This allows the sugar to evenly distribute before adding the orange blossom water.  If you add all three ingredients at the same time, the sugar tends to clump in one spot.  Next, add the orange blossom water and stir until the pistachio mixture is completely moistened. 

Making the pistachio baklava:

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Pistachio Baklava Phyllo Dough

Remove the thawed phyllo dough from the plastic sleeve and unroll.  Place a damp (not wet) paper towel over the dough to keep it from drying out while assembling the baklava.  Each time you need a phyllo sheet, remove the paper towel, use a sheet of dough, and then immediately return he paper towel.

Take one sheet of phyllo dough, place it in a 9×13 baking pan (or another pan that fits the dimensions of the phyllo dough).  I needed to trim a little of the dough from one side so it would fit nicely into the pan.  Brush the melted butter onto the dough with a pastry brush.  Repeat this process for a total of 8 sheets of phyllo dough and then top the dough with one third of the pistachio mixture.  Repeat the process with 6 more sheets of phyllo dough and another third of the pistachio mixture, then 6 more sheets of phyllo dough and the last third of the pistachio mixture, and finish with the remaining 10 sheets of phyllo dough.5 

Before adding butter to the final layer, gently press the layers to remove large air pockets and then cut the baklava into the desired shape (e.g., squares or diamonds).  Brush the top with butter and place the pan into the oven. 

Baking the pistachio baklava:

Cook the baklava for approximately 1.5 hours or until the dough is golden brown.  Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately pour the room-temperature orange blossom syrup onto the baklava.  Allow the pistachio baklava to sit for at least 8 hours before serving. 

Pistachio Baklava

The flavors get better as the syrup is able to soak into the pastry.  That being said, I have been known to ignore this step and eat it while it’s warm.  I cannot resist this recipe.  It smells SOOOO good and the taste is divine.  You get the buttery dough, nutty filling, and the sweet syrup all in one bite.  Absolute heaven.  If you have never tried baklava, I guarantee you that this recipe will make you love it. 

Pistachio Baklava
More Recipes with Nuts:

Pistachio Baklava

Equipment

  • 9×13 glass baking dish

Ingredients

Simple syrup ingredients

  • ½ cup (186g) honey
  • ½ cup (87g) water
  • ½ cup (87g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp (8g) orange blossom water
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Baklava Ingredients

  • 2 rolls (16oz) of thawed phyllo dough
  • 4 cups (540g) pistachios, ground
  • ½ cup (120g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (48g) orange blossom water
  • 6 sticks (680g) unsalted butter, melted and clarified

Instructions

Thawing phyllo dough

  • Remove the phyllo dough from the freezer before making the simple syrup to allow enough time for the dough to completely thaw and come to room temperature.  This will take approximately 2-3 hours for the dough to thaw completely.  Take the rolls out of the box, but do not open the plastic bags.  Phyllo dough dries out very quickly, so the closed plastic is keeping the dough moist while thawing.

Making simple syrup

  • Place all simple syrup ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove.  Heat the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Remove the saucepan from the stove and cool to room temperature.  Remove the cinnamon stick after the syrup has cooled. 

Making the nut filling

  • Place ground pistachios and sugar into a medium bowl and stir to combine. 
  • Next, add the orange blossom water and stir until the pistachio mixture is completely moistened. 

Making the baklava

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  • Remove the thawed phyllo dough from the plastic sleeve and unroll.  Place a damp (not wet) paper towel over the dough to keep it from drying out while assembling the baklava.  Each time you need a phyllo sheet, remove the paper towel, use a sheet of dough, and then immediately return he paper towel.
  • Take one sheet of phyllo dough, place it in a 9×13 baking sheet.
  • Brush the melted butter onto the dough with a pastry brush.  Repeat this process for a total of 8 sheets of phyllo dough and then top the dough with one third of the pistachio mixture. 
  • Repeat the process with 6 more sheets of phyllo dough and another third of the pistachio mixture, then 6 more sheets of phyllo dough and the last third of the pistachio mixture, and finish with the remaining 10 sheets of phyllo dough.
  • Before adding butter to the final layer, gently press the layers to remove large air pockets and then cut the baklava into the desired shape (e.g., squares or diamonds).  Brush the top with butter and place the pan into the oven. 

Baking the baklava

  • Cook the baklava for approximately 1.5 hours or until the dough is golden brown.  Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately pour the room-temperature orange blossom syrup onto the baklava.  Allow the baklava to sit for at least 8 hours before serving for best flavor and texture. 

Notes

Phyllo is sometimes written as “fillo” dough.  It can be found in the freezer section at the grocery store
Notes:
  1. It is also sometimes written as “fillo” dough.  This can be found in the freezer section at the grocery store.  It is typically near the frozen desserts.  Make sure to get the sheets and not some other shape (e.g., pre-shaped shells).  (Back to “Ingredients for phyllo dough” section)
  2. This ingredient can sometimes be hard to find in stores.  If your supermarket has an international food section, it would be here (especially if they have a middle eastern/Arabic section).  You can also look at specialty middle eastern stores or you can simply buy it online. (Back to “Ingredients for simple syrup” section)
  3. Typically, pistachios, walnuts, and pine nuts are used to make the nut filling in baklava.  However, you can get creative and use any nuts that you prefer when making this recipe.  Also, do yourself a favor and buy a bag of already shelled pistachios.  It will be more expensive, but it is definitely worth the time it will take you to shell all of the nuts that are needed. (Back to “Baklava ingredients” section)
  4. Clarified butter is butter that has had the milk solids removes, which allows the butter to cook at a higher temperature for longer without burning.  To clarify butter, melt butter in a saucepan and allow to simmer until the foam rises to the top of the melted butter.  Take the butter off the heat and skim the foam off of the top with a spoon.  Place a strainer lined with a cheesecloth over a glass container and pour the melted butter into it.  Any remaining solids will be trapped in the cheesecloth and you will be left with clarified butter.  Most baklava recipes call for clarified butter when making them.  To be honest, though, I have tried the recipe with clarified butter and just plain melted butter (i.e., not clarified), and I haven’t noticed a difference.  (Back to “Baklava ingredients” section)
  5. This recipe makes a tall baklava.  Because most of the ingredients needed to make this recipe are fairly expensive, feel free to cut everything in half and you will still have a delicious treat (or enough remaining ingredients to make a double batch — nothing wrong with that).  (Back to “Making the baklava” section)

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