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Easy Turkish Baklava Recipe

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This easy baklava recipe is a great treat to make with kids. Easy and so flavorful! Flaky crispy phyllo dough is layered with pistachios and syrup to create a sweet sticky dessert the whole family will love.

This easy to make baklava is a great recipe to make with kids! Crispy flaky layers of phyllo dough are coated with butter and sprinkled with chopped pistachios for a sweet, sticky, crispy treat that everyone will love!
closeup of three baklava pieces on blue plate with more in the background
baklava pieces on two blue plates next to baking dish

Baklava is such a lovely treat – its crispy crunchy phyllo layers stacked with crushed pistachios and all smothered in a lovely lemon scented syrup is just heaven on Earth.

This is a great recipe to serve anytime, but I recommend serving it at a Turkish themed meal with Beef Kofta and Pide bread. If you are looking for more ways to add Middle Eastern flavors to your family meal plan, make sure you check out my Kids Guide to Middle Eastern food.

closeup of three baklava pieces on blue plate with more in the background

Did you know that baklava is different based on what country it is from? This is a Turkish baklava because it has pistachios and is sweetened with a lemon and sugar syrup, but you can also have a Greek baklava that has walnuts, cinnamon and a honey syrup!

Sometimes almonds make an appearance, too, and sometimes you can have a combination of nuts. There is really no wrong choice here, unless your family culture has a specific way of doing it – and then do that.

overhead view of 9x13 white baking dish with baklava cut into pieces

Ingredients Needed:

You only need a few ingredients to make this recipe. For the full recipe amounts and directions, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below.

  • Lemon Syrup – To make this syrup you only need granulated sugar, water, and a fresh lemon. That’s it!
  • Phyllo dough – For this recipe we need a 1 lb box of phyllo dough, thawed. You can usually find this in the freezer dessert section of your grocery store.
  • Pistachios – We need 3 cups of finely chopped pistachios. You can also use a combination of pistachios, walnuts, and/or almonds.
  • Ghee or Clarified Butter – Clarified butter is butter that has been melted and the solid fats removed. You can make your own clarified butter, or you can purchase a store bought one (it is often labeled as Ghee and in a shelf stable glass jar). I have also tested it with just plain melted butter and I don’t know if I can tell the difference. For the sake of authenticity, I am listing clarified butter, but only you will know if you use regular melted butter.
ingredients for baklava

How to make homemade baklava

This recipe is very simple to make! Here is a brief overview of the recipe to give you an idea of how it works. For the full set of directions and measurements, please make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below!

Mixing the dough.

  1. Mix the ingredients together until combined.
  2. Cover the bowl and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Make the sugar syrup

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water. Stir to combine and put over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the temperature to bring the mixture to a simmer.
  3. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and is golden in color.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice, and cool completely. You want to make sure the syrup is completely cool (you can put it in the fridge, too) when you pour it over the hot baklava, this will help it to soak in properly and not cause it to become soggy.

Assemble the Baklava

  1. Finely chop the nuts and place in a bowl. Then remove 1/3 cup of them to sprinkle on top. Reserve those for later.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  3. Trim the phyllo dough to fit the bottom of the dish. I do this by laying all the sheets on the counter, placing the dish on top of the stack, and then using a knife to trim away any excess.
  4. Brush the bottom of the baking dish with some clarified butter.
  5. Carefully place one sheet of phyllo dough in the bottom of the baking dish. Brush with clarified butter.
  6. Repeat until you have 10 pieces of phyllo stacked on top of each other, with clarified butter brushed on top of each layer.
  7. Evenly sprinkle half of the chopped nuts on top of the top phyllo layer.
  8. Repeat layering another 10 sheets of phyllo dough into the pan, brushing the tops of each sheet with clarified butter.
  9. Sprinkle the second half of the chopped nuts on top of the dough.
  10. Repeat layering another 8-10 sheets of phyllo dough (or whatever is left of the box you have), brushing the top of each sheet with clarified butter.
  11. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the baklava into 36 pieces. Make sure you slice all the way though the bottom layer!

Baking

  1. Bake for 40 minutes and then sprinkle on the remaining 1/3 pistachios on top, then place a piece of foil over the pan to prevent over browning.
  2. Bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup on top of the baklava, making sure to evenly pour it all over the pan.
  4. Cool completely at room temperature. You want to make sure you give the phyllo dough enough time to properly finish cooking and absorb the syrup for the best texture.

Storage Information

Store the baklava covered, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.

How kids can help you cook

Baklava is a great recipe for older kids to help you make. The steps are simple and straightforward, and this is a really forgiving recipe for kids to practice on.

  • Kids aged 1 to 3 can help you measure ingredients and sprinkle on the chopped nuts.
  • Kids aged 4 to 6 can help do everything above, plus help you brush on the clarified butter, squeeze the lemon juice and use a nut chopped to chop the nuts.
  • Kids aged 7 to 10+ can help do everything above, plus help you layer the phyllo dough and pour on the cooled syrup.

*Please note that these recommendations are generalized, and to please use your personal discretion with your child’s skill level. And always, always supervise! Read more about how to have your children help you in the kitchen.

overhead closeup view of three pieces of turkish baklava on blue plate

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closeup of three baklava pieces on blue plate with more in the background

Easy Turkish Baklava Recipe

This easy to make baklava is a great recipe to make with kids! Crispy flaky layers of phyllo dough are coated with butter and sprinkled with chopped pistachios for a sweet, sticky, crispy treat that everyone will love!
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Course: Bar Recipes
Cuisine: Turkish
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 24 pieces
Calories: 338kcal
Author: Jenni

Ingredients

Sugar Syrup:

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ⅔ cup water
  • ½ lemon juiced

Baklava:

  • 1 lb phyllo dough thawed
  • 3 cups roasted unsalted pistachios shelled and chopped
  • 1 ½ cups ghee melted (or clarified butter)

Instructions

Make the sugar syrup:

  • In a medium sized saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water. Stir to combine and put over medium heat.
  • Bring to a boil, and then reduce the temperature to bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and is slightly golden in color.
  • Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice, and cool completely.

Assemble the baklava:

  • Finely chop the nuts and place in a bowl. Then remove 1/3 cup of them to sprinkle on top. Reserve those for later.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Trim the phyllo dough to fit the bottom of the dish.
  • Brush the bottom of the baking dish with some clarified butter.
  • Carefully place one sheet of phyllo dough in the bottom of the baking dish. Brush with clarified butter.
  • Repeat until you have 10 pieces of phyllo stacked on top of each other, with clarified butter brushed on top of each layer.
  • Evenly sprinkle half of the chopped nuts on top of the top phyllo layer.
  • Repeat layering another 10 sheets of phyllo dough into the pan, brushing the tops of each sheet with clarified butter.
  • Sprinkle the second half of the chopped nuts on top of the dough.
  • Repeat layering another 8-10 sheets of phyllo dough (or whatever is left of the box you have), brushing the top of each sheet with clarified butter.
  • Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the baklava into 36 pieces. Make sure you slice all the way though the bottom layer!
  • Bake for 40 minutes and then sprinkle on the remaining 1/3 pistachios on top, then place a piece of foil over the pan to prevent over browning.
  • Bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup on top of the baklava, making sure to evenly pour it all over the pan.
  • Cool completely at room temperature. You want to make sure you give the phyllo dough enough time to properly finish cooking and absorb the syrup for the best texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 175mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 64IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

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