Paklava

My mom is Armenian, and paklava is by far our families favorite thing to eat during the holidays.  This is how we make it in our home.

Paklava 
5 cups chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pack phyllo dough
4 sticks of salted clarified butter

Simple Syrup
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

You will mix the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon in a big bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

In a 8 x 15 pan begin to assemble your paklava.  First brush the bottom of the pan with the clarified butter and top with 3 sheets of phyllo dough.  Sprinkle a layer of nuts and top with 3 more pieces of phyllo dough then brush with a layer of butter.  Repeat this 5-6 times.  The last layer should only be phyllo dough.  Cut your raw paklava into diamonds.  Pour the rest of the butter on top.  Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.

While the paklava is cooking create your simple syrup.  Stir in 2 cups sugar into 2 cups water with 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Bring this to just under a simmer.  All you are trying to do is melt the sugar and get them to incorporate (no cooking or boiling here).  Once all the sugar is melted set the simple syrup to the side till the paklava is done cooking.

Once the paklava is golden and crisp take it out of the oven.   Pour all the excess butter out of the pan.  Pour your simple syrup over your paklava and listen to the delicious sizzle!  Use as much simple syrup as you want.


Armenians call this paklava but it is traditionally called baklava in other countries.

A couple of things to mention which I think are really important and will make or break your paklava:

1.  Be aware of how you like to eat nuts.  Personally I like the nuts chopped finely because it seems like everything is more incorporated, whereas my brother and dad like them with a rough chop so they get the chomp of the nuts.  To me both ways taste quite different and I definitely prefer a fine chop.

2.  The 5 layers is really important.  A lot of restaurants try to make this with 1 layer phyllo, one layer of nuts more phyllo, nuts then phyllo.  It's just not the same, it's quick and frankly it's lazy.   With the added layers the phyllo dough stays crisp and the pastry really does taste much more complex.

3.  Make sure and pour the excess butter out of the pan.  If you don't over time this will give it a more gummy chewy texture, and paklava should taste light and crunchy.

4.  Keep extra simple syrup around.  With the cooking technique when you dump the syrup on the paklava remains crisp, but some people prefer to have added syrup for soaping up all the little nuts and phyllo dough bits left on the plate.

This is by far the best paklava I have ever had ever anywhere.  I am not just saying that because it's a family recipe.  Really it's more of a technique, this is a pretty standard recipe.  The layers are what makes it, and what keeps it delicious for days (if it lasts that long).

I hope you have a chance to make this in your home!! The smell is out of this world, and despite all the butter if you look up the calories it really is quite healthy.  I mean nuts = protein right?  This is definitely worth the effort, you will never buy paklava again.

What is your favorite family recipe?  Will you share so I can make it too ? :) 

6 comments:

  1. ummm...how far do you live from me?!
    If too far, you're welcome to send me some ;) this is just one of those things that I LOVE, but will forever be intimidated to make

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    1. Oh lovely !! If I can figure a way to ship it, you got it in a heartbeat !

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  2. Oh my god this looks so yummy!! I love this stuff, especially home made!
    <3

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    1. huge amazing difference for sure :)

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  3. Mmmmm I grew up on the store bought versions and I would LOVE to have some homemade stuff.

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