Super Traditional Greek Baklava Recipe

An easy peasy Greek baklava recipe to prepare the best syrup-drenched pastries you've ever tried! Pour yourself a cup of Greek coffee and enjoy!

How to Make the Best Greek Baklava: This Greek Baklava recipe is everything you need to surprise friends and families with a delicious sweet of ancient Middle Eastern origins. Baklava is an incredibly sweet dessert made with layers of filo pastry and chopped nuts, drenched in a delicious honey syrup. But there’s more to baklava than this simple description. Let’s find out!

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Greek Baklava Recipe: How to Make Greek-Style Baklava

Baklava Recipe

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About Baklava

Baklava Recipe
Ingredients for baklava.

Have you ever heard of Baklava? Made with just a bunch of ingredients, this dish, which looks complex and time-consuming, is really easy to prepare once you get hold of filo pastry (also fillo, phillo, phyllo, and more variations to the spelling).

Different Kinds of Baklava

Baklava Recipe
Ready to choose?

As with any ancient recipe, you will find variations in every region where this dish is made. Originating in the Middle East, conquests and occupations have made Baklava travel all over the Mediterranean region. 

You can find it in Lebanon, Turkey, Israel, Syria, and yes… also in Greece. Today, many different types of baklava are available, with unique tastes and ingredients!

You will find baklava cut in different shapes and with varied fillings, ranging from walnuts and pistachios to even carrots or drenched with syrup containing milk, a Baklava variety known as Sütlü Nuriye. These are some of the varieties of Baklava that you can find…

Walnut Baklava

Baklava Recipe
Walnut baklava.

Easier to find than pistachios, walnuts are the main ingredient in one of the most popular baklava recipes, the walnut baklava. We use the walnut Baklava variety in this Greek recipe and often find it on Crete. 

Remember also that, on the island, more often than not, walnuts are mixed with almonds (by the way, did you know that we have plenty of walnut trees on the island? This is for another chapter, though!).

Pistachio Baklava

Baklava Recipe
Baklava with pistachio.

Probably the most popular type of baklava, it is made with at least 40 layers of filo and filled with chopped pistachios. It originally came from Syria and Turkey.

Cream Baklava

Baklava Recipe
Baklava.

Known as Şöbiyet in Turkey, this variety displays a milder taste and lighter sugar flavor, really delicious for those who don’t enjoy the intense sugary tastes of traditional Baklava.

Fresh cream is added between the filo layers to obtain a refreshing taste. Although delicious, this baklava does not last as long as other varieties. 

There is an Arabic variety of this Baklava recipe known as warbat, which uses custard instead of fresh cream.

Nightingale Nest Baklava

Baklava Recipe
Nightingale Nest is a delicious Baklava variety that’s popular in Turkey.

Unique in shape and flavor, this variety is quite popular in Istanbul’s pastry shops and adds a touch of originality to this traditional recipe. 

This recipe is originally from the Anatolia region. Instead of placing one filo layer over the other, the dough sheets are rolled to form a cylindrical shape while the walnut or pistachio mix is placed in the middle.

Other baklava varieties include dry baklava, which has a very long shelf life (about a month!), and a very modern chocolate baklava version. 

Baklava from Crete

Baklava Recipe
Baklava.

Melted butter is used worldwide to work the filo pastry; however, if you want to keep it closer to how we cook it in Crete, use Extra Virgin olive oil.

You won’t only cut on calories, but it will be equally tasty, much healthier, and relatively more straightforward (no need to melt the oil, cutting on preparation times).

Another local variation is adding chopped walnuts to the filling; we often mix nuts with almonds on the island, making it a bit more bitter and pleasant. Almonds add a touch to the aroma, making it inviting.

Rolled Baklava

Baklava Recipe
Rolled baklava.

You will also find rolled baklava on Crete! Although the ingredients are basically the same, this recipe requires you to roll the filo pastry around the mixture, place it over two buttered sheets of filo, and then cut it into slices about 4 cm long.  

Either cut in diamond slices on a pan or rolled like tiny nut-filled fingers, baklava remains a delicious, extremely sweet dessert that can be enjoyed with a cup of Cretan malotira tea, some hot Greek coffee, or even a shot of tsikoudia.

Learn How to Store Baklava

Baklava Recipe
Baklava.

The best way to store Baklava (provided you do not eat the whole tray once it’s cooled down!) is to keep it inside an airtight container and at room temperature. Homemade Baklava can last up to 5 days or even a week this way.

If you want to store it longer, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for 2 months.

Make Your Own Baklava Recipe!

Baklava Recipe
Arabic baklava.

Probably originating in the multicultural Ottoman Empire, Baklava recipes have traveled among different countries through the centuries. 

It has been made by the Turkish and Greeks, as well as by Armenians, Arabs, Albanians, Bulgarians, Lebanese, Hungarians, Persians, Russians, and more. And the best part? You can create your own version, too! 

You can use this basic Greek Baklava recipe and vary it according to your taste or the ingredients you have at home… it can be the beginning of a unique home tradition: Your own!

An easy peasy Greek baklava recipe to prepare the best syrup-drenched pastries you've ever tried! Pour yourself a cup of Greek coffee and enjoy!

Traditional Greek Baklava Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A recipe that does not look as simple as it is! Enjoy this yummy Greek Baklava!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups walnuts, finely chopped
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • a dash of cloves
  • ½ kilo of sweet butter
  • ½ kilo of filo pastry sheets
  • FOR THE SYRUP:
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 3 cups of water
  • the peel of one orange
  • ½ cup of honey
  • one slice of lemon
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

  • In a bowl, mix the walnuts, the sugar, and all the spices.
  • Melt the butter. 
  • Line a greased baking pan with one filo pastry sheet and brush the top of the pastry sheet with butter (or use Extra Virgin olive oil to make it healthier. and more Cretan!).
  • Repeat the process with 7 more filo pastry sheets. 
  • Sprinkle with 1/3 of the nut mixture, add another filo pastry sheet, and brush on top with butter.
  • Repeat the process two more times. 
  • Finally, top with 8 sheets of filo pastry sheets, which have been brushed with butter or extra virgin olive oil. 
  • Mark the pastry in the shape of diamonds to make pieces of about 5 cm.
  • Stick the whole clove in each of the diamonds. 
  • Bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes or until the pastry turns into an irresistible golden brown color. 
  • In the meantime, get the syrup ready.
  • Add all the syrup ingredients except for the honey in a pot and simmer for 20 minutes. 
  • Stir in the honey and let it cool. 
  • Once the syrup has cooled down, pour it cold over the hot pastry. This is key to getting the best results.
  • Cut the diamond pieces with a knife when the whole pan has cooled down completely. 

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Greek Baklava Recipe

How to make baklava

About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the island. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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