Walnut Baklava with Rose Water

After having lived in Turkey for a good amount of time, I have been enlightened about the art of making baklava. It’s such a dessert that when made well and with the finest ingredients, is something you really do savor. It’s special. That’s why it’s the perfect celebration food, making it my choice for making on this year’s Eid ul Fitr.

Walnut Baklava with Rose Syrup on Top

You can see the variations in the notes section, and of course I’d love to hear from all of you on how you like your baklava and what you do to make it your own and special, too. To me, this recipe is one of my absolute favorites because I just love the scented aroma that filled my kitchen when this was baking, and the taste combination of walnut with rose water is sublime.

Makes approximately 50-60 pieces baklava 

Special equipment 

  • Silicone pastry brush
  • Full sheet pan size 13” x 18”
  • Dampened cotton kitchen towel

Notes on this recipe:

  • If you want to make a smaller batch or use less phyllo, you can cut this recipe in half and use a half sheet pan instead of a full sheet pan. 
  • Most phyllo is sold frozen, so it must be defrosted in the refrigerator at least one day prior to making this recipe. 
  • You don’t need to brush every single layer of phyllo with ghee; you can instead brush every 2-3 layers. 
  • The ghee or butter should be fully melted for best results 
  • Caster sugar/superfine sugar produces the best result, but if you have regular or cane sugar, you can work with that, too. 
  • Instead of rose water, you can use cinnamon in the nut filling instead; not in the syrup (same amount).
  • Instead of rose water to make the syrup, you can use orange blossom water or simply lemon juice (same amount).
  • Instead of walnuts, you can use pistachio or hazelnuts for great flavor. 
  • If you have allowed your baklava to cool before adding the syrup, warm up the syrup and pour on top. At least one of the items should be hot for the syrup to set in very well, but not both. 

To organize the process, I like to make this recipe in the following order:

Step 1: Preheat the oven 

Step 2: Make the syrup

Step 3: Make the nut filling

Step 4: Butter the phyllo dough, proceed to finish 

Ingredients

1 ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon caster sugar 

2 tablespoons rose water

2 ½ cups roughly chopped walnuts + ½ cup for garnishing the top

1 cup ghee

30 sheets phyllo dough  sized 13” x 18” 

To make the syrup

To a small saucepan, add 1 ¼ cup caster sugar, 1 tablespoon rose water, and 1 ½ cup water. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium low and cook for 20 minutes.  

Remove from heat and set aside as the last step in this recipe. 

To make the nut filling

To a bowl, add the nuts, 1 tablespoon caster sugar, and 1 tablespoon rose water. Mix well with your hands to make sure everything is combined well.  

Set aside. 

To make the phyllo

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Unwrap the phyllo and spread it out flat. Place a damp cloth on the top layer so that it doesn’t dry out while you are working. Do this with every layer you leave exposed. 

Brush the sheet pan generously with ghee. Add a phyllo sheet and brush it with ghee. Repeat with 14 more sheets for a total of 15 sheets before the nut filling is added.

Pour in the nut mixture (2 ½ cups ) and spread it out evenly across the phyllo. Add one new phyllo sheet on top and brush with ghee. Repeat this until you have ​a total of 15 more sheets on top, for a total of 30 sheets. 

Add the ½ cup chopped walnuts to the top.

Using a sharp, smooth knife, cut the entire sheet in several long, even strips and then again diagonally, which will create diamond shaped pieces.

Bake for 40 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and pour the cooled syrup on top. Let sit for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving. 

Eid Mubarak!

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