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Baklava rolls are made up of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped mixed nuts and sweetened by syrup or honey, rolled and cut into bite sizes.
Christmas is the most wonderful time and the most important celebration of the year for our family. Second to that is the New Year’s Eve celebration which is only a week apart from Christmas so I’ve already planning for our menu since the last week of November. I was browsing through my Facebook photos from previous years’ celebration ( Oh yes, I make Facebook my photo album! ;p) and stumbled upon one of my favorite recipes for the holidays, that is the baklava.
What is Baklava?
Baklava is a sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped (or grounded) mixed nuts, sweetened and held together by syrup or honey.
This recipe that I made are baklava rolls. Instead of layering the phyllo pastry and mixed nuts mixture on top of each other, the baklavas are rolled like long logs and are then cut into bite sizes and drenched into the syrup. The method of rolling is similar to how “lumpiang shanghai” or egg rolls are rolled without folding the sides of the wrapper.
I’ve come to know about baklava when a colleague brought them over to work one day for our potluck food day. That was the very first time I tasted the baklava but somehow every bite seems familiar and comforting. I’m thinking it’s probably because I love everything nuts. It also seems to taste like my favorite peanut bar from the Philippines, but better.
Preparing the Ingredients for the Baklava Rolls
One of the most important ingredient for this recipe is the phyllo pastry. Phyllo or Filo (pronounced as FEE lo, like Philo in the word Philosophy, and is a Greek term for leaf) is a very thin sheet of unleavened dough that has a flaky crisp texture when baked, somewhat similar to that of a wafer.
The next ingredient to be considered are the nuts that you will use for the baklava. You may use whatever your favorite nuts are. For this recipe, I used cashews, peanuts, almonds, pecans and pistachios.
The spices used are cinnamon and nutmeg. The other ingredients are sugar (brown and white), water and butter. We’ll be mixing the brown and white sugar and dissolve these in water and cooked over low heat to make our sweet syrup or “arnibal” which will be used to sweeten and hold together the chopped nuts. A good substitute for sugar syrup is honey. The butter is melted and brushed while rolling the phyllo pastry.
As with any recipes out there, it is best to prepare all the ingredients first. So let’s start now, shall we?
First, thaw the phyllo pastry. Have the filling ready ( mixture of nuts, spices, melted butter and syrup) before you open the box of phyllo pastry as it tends to dry out quickly when exposed to air. Use a clean damp cloth to cover the phyllo pastry so it doesn’t dry out.
Tip: Open the box of phyllo pastry once all your ingredients are ready for filling. Use a clean damp cloth to cover the phyllo pastry so it doesn’t dry out.
Preheat the oven to 350 degree celsius. Melt the butter. You may melt the butter on a small baking dish and place it inside the oven. You may also melt the butter in the microwave, or, put the butter in a saucepan and place on stovetop over low heat. When cooking on a saucepan, stir occasionally and remove from heat once the butter is melted. Whichever method you prefer, just make sure the butter won’t spatter (in the microwave) or get burnt.
Get a big baking pan and brush it with butter. Set it aside. We’ll use this for baking the baklava rolls.
Next, chop the nuts into smaller chunks using a food processor or chop with a knife. Mix all of the nuts in a big bowl. I personally prefer the chunky nuts as I like the texture when combined with the crispness of the phyllo pastry. You may use grounded nuts if you prefer. Drizzle the mixed nuts with cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well.
In a saucepan, dissolve the brown and white sugar in water. Cook over low heat until it caramelizes and thickens like pancake syrup. Pour about half a cup of the sugar mixture or honey over the chopped nuts. Mix well.
Once the chopped nuts are ready, get two sheets of phyllo pastry. Brush the lower part (edges) of the sheets with butter so it won’t slide off each other. Spoon about two to three tablespoons of the chopped nuts mixture and place on top of the phyllo sheets forming a line from end to end.
Brush with butter while rolling up the sheets. Repeat until you’ve used up all the phyllo sheets and the chopped nuts mixture. Place all rolled baklava on the greased baking pan and brush lightly with butter. Cut into diagonal bite sizes about 2 inches in length.
Shelf life of Baklava 2 weeks - when placed in an air tight container at room temperature About 4 months - when placed in the freezer
Bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes until lightly golden. You will need to check the oven from time to time as the phyllo pastry tends to burn easily during baking. Turn off the oven and remove the baklava rolls from heat. Dip the baklava rolls in the syrup, remove and place on a serving dish. Let it cool and serve.
Try this recipe and let me know if you liked it!
- 2 cups Your favorite mixed nuts, chopped, equally measured (I used peanuts, almonds, pecans, cashews and pistachios)
- 2 pinches Cinnamon
- 1 pinch Nutmeg
- 1 box Phyllo pastry
- 1 cup Salted butter melted
- 1 1/2 cups Brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups White sugar
- 3 cups Water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Celsius. Brush a big baking pan with butter and set aside. This is where all the baklava rolls will be placed for baking later.
- Thaw the phyllo pastry. Make sure the chopped nuts mixture is ready before opening the box of phyllo pastry or lay all the sheets flat and cover with a clean damp cloth as it dries up quickly.
- Combine the chopped nuts, nutmeg and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
- Sugar mixture: In a saucepan, dissolve the brown sugar and white sugar in 3 cups of water. Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens like pancake syrup.
- Pour about ½ cup of the sugar mixture over the chopped nuts and mix well.
- Get two sheets of phyllo pastry and lay on a flat surface. Brush the edges of the lower part of the phyllo sheets with melted butter.
- Spoon about 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped nuts and put on the lower part phyllo sheets forming a line.
- Brush with butter while rolling the pastry.
- Repeat Steps 6 to 8
- Line all the rolled baklava on the baking pan and brush lightly with butter. Cut into diagonal bite sizes about 2 inches in length
- Bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes until lightly golden.
- Drench the baklava rolls in the syrup then remove and place on a serving dish. Let it cool and serve.