Baklava is a layered pastry dessert typically made of filo pastry and filled with finely ground nuts. They are then sweetened with either syrup or honey and seasoned with various warming and sweet spices. Baklava continues to be one of the most recognizable and popular sweet pastries in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, India, Armenia, Greece, and many other countries in the region.
You will find the name baklava to be used in many languages with minor phonetic and spelling variations. In Farsi, we call this dessert Baghlava.
Today, Baklava’s popularity has reached far beyond the middle east and has become a well-known and cherished dessert in other cultures as well.
What is particularly unique and different about Iranian Baklava is how the layers of flaky pastry are sweetened with a fragrant and buttery syrup of rose water and cardamom. What is also noteworthy to mention is that I find Iranian Baklava to be slightly less sweet and not syrupy, and therefore not as sticky!
Iranian Baklava can be made with pistachios, almonds, and walnuts. In addition to rose water, I have also made this baklava with orange blossom water which equally adds refreshing floral notes to this brilliant dessert.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup rose water or orange blossom water
- 4 cups ground almonds, or walnuts or pistachios
- 2 cups unrefined sugar
- 2 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 1 package Filo dough, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter, gently melted for brushing the filo dough
- Combine the sugar, water, butter and salt and heat until sugar is dissolved and it is near boiling. Remove from the heat, add rose water and set aside.
- In a food processor blend the almonds, sugar, and cardamom and pulse until you have a reasonably fine ground.
- Prepare the 18 X 13 baking sheet by lightly brushing it with melted butter.
- Begin by putting one sheet of filo dough on the greased sheet, brush with butter and repeat until you have 7 sheets stacked up.
- Spread 1/2 of the ground almonds mixture on top and repeat with 6 more sheets of filo dough, brushing every sheet with butter.
- Add the remaining almond mixture and continue to layer the remaining 7 sheets of filo dough, burshing every sheet with butter.
- With a sharp knife cut the baklava into 1-inch diamond shapes. (see diagram)
- Pour half of the syrup over the cut baklava and bake at 350°F for about 30-35 minutes or until the filo dough has turned golden and crisp.
- Remove from the oven and immediately pour the other half of the syrup and allow to rest for at least 2 hours.
- Carefully remove the pieces from the pan and place on a serving platter.
- Persian baklava can be served with black tea or coffee.