Vegetarian and Vegan Baklava

For years, I believed that baklava was an extremely difficult dessert to bake. Whenever I ordered a piece, I was in awe over the thin, flakey layers of phyllo dough and honey sauce. I decided to try my hand at making this dessert and have had great results.

When I first tried to make baklava, I used this recipe from allrecipes. Over the years, I have made a few changes with the outlined ingredients and directions. My alterations have made this dessert similar to The Mad Greek’s version in Baker, California. There is more honey sauce and nuts, which makes this a rich dessert.

Also, whenever I have brought this to a party or event, I received positive feedback. I think this is partly due to the taste but also how impressive the final product looks. The flakey layers look like this recipe takes ages to assemble, but it’s not that time consuming. It is also fairly easy to make. The phyllo dough can be a bit finicky, but the trick is to not let it sit out for long periods of time without a dampened cloth on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 oz) package phyllo dough (thawed)
  • 1 cup butter (or a vegan spread alternative)
  • 1 pound chopped nuts (I used walnuts and pistachios)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)

Directions:

Baklava Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Next, chop the nuts and toss them with two teaspoons of cinnamon. Set nuts aside, and melt butter in a small saucepan. Once the butter is melted, use some to butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.

Unroll phyllo dough and cover with a dampened cloth to ensure the dough does not dry out.

Assembling Baklava

Place two sheets of dough in pan and butter thoroughly. Repeat three times until you have a total of eight sheets. Next, sprinkle seasoned nuts on top. Make sure the nuts are well dispersed. Layer with two sheets of dough, butter, and nuts. Repeat four times. Then, top with three 2-layered sheets of dough and butter.

Cut the baklava diamond or square shapes. I chose squares.

Cooking Baklava

Bake baklava for 45 minutes or until golden and crisp. While the baklava is baking, make the honey and/or maple syrup. Boil water and add sugars. When sugars have melted, add honey and/or maple syrup and vanilla. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Once the Baklava has finished baking remove from the oven. Promptly spoon the sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon over the top.

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Once cooled, you can serve in cupcake papers, parchment paper, or reusable baking cups. I leave mine in the pan and sometimes reusable baking cups. For parties, the cupcake papers are a nice option.

bakalava.jpeg

-Skye

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