Special Occasion Baklava Recipe

You will need:

  • 13X9” non-stick pan (I have a pan I use only for baklava)
  • Pastry brush
  • Food processor or plastic bag and hammer or rolling pin
  • Sharp knife
  • Cupcake papers
  • 1 box – 16 oz phyllo dough thawed (in fridge for 1-2 days) 


  • 2+ cups butter, melted
  • 1 lb mix of walnuts and pecans, finely chopped (1 lb = 4 cups, I tend to use more)
  • 1 TBL Saigon cinnamon 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 TBL fresh squeezed lemon (I use one large lemon)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup honey (better quality makes a difference)
  • 1 hefty teaspoon real vanilla extract


  • Thaw phyllo in fridge at least overnight, then put box on counter for 1 hour before starting to bring it to room temperature. Each box should have two separate rolls with a total of about 40 sheets. These will be wrapped in wax paper inside the box.
  • Crush your walnuts and pecans. You can use a food processor, or if you are like me, I don’t have one of those so I put them 1 cup at a time in a plastic or paper bag, then I hit it on the counter using a rolling pin or a hammer until they are mostly fine ground. The plastic bag will rip so you can put it in between layers of newspaper to keep that from happening if you want. Put crushed nuts into a bowl and mix with the Saigon cinnamon. 
  • Put butter into a medium pan on low heat to melt slowly.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Start With Honey Sauce:

  • In medium saucepan combine sugar, honey, water, lemon juice and vanilla. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, on medium-high heat. Once it is boiling, keep stirring until the sugar is melted. Then reduce heat to medium-low and gently boil an additional 4 minutes *without stirring*. Remove from heat and let it cool without touching it. 


  • Wet a kitchen towel and lay on the counter. Unroll the first roll of phyllo and trim to fit your pan. (You do not have to trim this, I just fold over the ends that are too long for the pan, but some people prefer it to be neat and tidy. If you trim, you can use the excess in places where the phyllo might rip).
  • Cover the stack of phyllo with the damp towel or it will dry out right away. Best to leave the wax paper between the towel and the phyllo in case the towel is too damp. Each time you use a sheet of the phyllo, you will cover the rest with the towel while you are working with the other sheet.
  • Brush the bottom and sides of your 13X9” pan with some melted butter.
  • Lay one piece of phyllo on bottom of the pan (be sure you cover the stack with the wet towel while working). Brush the first sheet with butter before adding the next. You will butter each piece of phyllo individually. (Place phyllo sheet into pan, cover the stack with damp towel, brush the sheet in the pan with butter, and repeat until you have ten sheets layered).  Don’t worry if a piece breaks or ends up crooked in the pan. Any that clings to the side of the pan you can just fold over onto the top – phyllo is tricky but in the end it doesn’t matter if it is perfectly laid out.   
  • After you have ten sheets buttered in the pan, spread about 1/5 the nut mixture on top of these layers. Scatter about. It won’t cover the entire pan fully. 
  • Add five more sheets of phyllo, buttering each one before adding the next, then add another layer of the nut/cinnamon mixture. 
  • Do this a total of 4 times and the nut mixture will be gone. 
  • Finish layering and buttering the last 10 sheets of phyllo. Brush the top generously with butter. (I always end up using a lot more butter than the recipe calls for but that is a personal preference).
  • With a very sharp knife, cut through the pastry to the bottom of the pan in 1 1/2” strips. You’ll need to hold the phyllo down as you cut so this process is a little slow, but take your time. After cutting into strips, then cut diagonally across the pan to form diamond shapes. 
  • Bake on middle rack in oven at 325 for about 1 hour 15 minutes. I always have ovens that aren’t perfect so I start checking at about 45 minutes. You want the top to be a nice golden brown. Too pale and it will be chewy. 
  • Remove from the oven and immediately spoon the cooled honey mixture evenly over the hot baklava. You will hear it sizzle – this ensures it stays crisp rather than soggy. Be sure you let some drizzle down into the cut lines.
  • Let the baklava cool completely uncovered at room temperature so the syrup can penetrate and soften the layers – 6 hours or overnight. 
  • Once completely cool, run your knife through where you already cut in between each piece to be sure they are severed from each other. Lift out gently and place into cupcake papers, OR leave in the pan at room temperature covered with a dry tea towel for up to two weeks. 

When I know I am going to freeze the baklava, I use extra honey-liquor because freezing dries it out a little. 


  • 10 sheets buttered individually then 3/4 cup (ish) nut/cinnamon mixture
  • 5 sheets buttered individually then 3/4 cup (ish) nut/cinnamon mixture
  • 5 sheets buttered individually then 3/4 cup (ish) nut/cinnamon mixture
  • 5 sheets buttered individually then 3/4 cup (ish) nut/cinnamon mixture
  • 5 sheets buttered individually then 3/4 cup (ish) nut/cinnamon mixture
  • 10 buttered sheets and butter the top

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