Cardamom Baklava is baklava next level. The beauty of baklava is to have a combination of textures and flavors. Layers of crunchy filo dough but also rich sweet syrup drenched filo dough. Crunch also from the spiced nuts while chewy from the bottom filo dough layers soaking up all the goodness.
Baklava is not a dessert that most people made at home in Syria. My mom tells me in Damascus, there are dessert shops that make all kinds of dessert and people rarely ever make it themselves. However, lucky for us my mom has this recipe from my grandmother and a few tips and tricks to make this successful for even the most intimidated, i.e me.
Most recipes call for all ghee and no butter which is how my grandmother made it but my mom and I both agree that it’s way too rich with only ghee. My mom adapted the recipe to include both butter and ghee and I think it turns out perfect this way. Remember to brush each filo dough with the melted butter/ghee and then pour the remaining all over it.
Filo dough is very fragile and must be treated carefully. It dries out very quickly and will begin to crack if it isn’t handled well. In fact, in my opinion, handling the filo dough is the most complicated part of this entire recipe. Goes to show you that this recipe is not that hard at all! Filo dough is found in the freezer section of most supermarkets. When you plan on using the filo dough bring it to room temperature. Have a kitchen towel handy because you will use it to cover the filo dough when using it to layer. So literally you’re going to keep it covered, carefully take one out like you’re being sneaky and not supposed to show anyone and then cover it quickly again. Besides making sure not to dry it out, its basically filo dough, brush with butter, filo dough, butter, filo dough, butter. 5 layers, then nuts, 5 layers, then nuts, 4 then nuts and then remaining filo dough.
How many layers?
Some people like to make it with layers at the bottom, nuts and then layers on top. However, our family recipe calls to split the nuts into 3 parts and layer in between those parts. I think it makes for a nice combination of chewy and crunchy but if you feel passionate the other way, that will still taste great too!
Pistachio or Walnuts?
It’s a personal preference. I like the flavor of both together but if you’re against one or the other, then just use whichever one you like.
Simple Syrup is used so often in middle eastern desserts and its so easy to make that usually every home has some stored away in a jar. If you aren’t your mom and dont have a stash of simple syrup like me, make it before you start the filo dough process because you want it to cool down before using. You also need to have some to mix the nuts together so they stick together.
When the baklava is out of the oven and has rested for 2 minutes, pour the simple syrup all over it.
When to cut?
After you are done assembling all the layers of nuts and filo dough, refrigerate for at least an hour so the butter solidifies. It will make it easier to cut. Make sure you get a really sharp knife and make sure you cut all the way through.
If you enjoyed this recipe you might also enjoy:
- Sweet Cheese (Halawait il jibn)
- Tahini Brownies
- Sweet pancakes with pistachio filling (Qatayef)
- Pecan balls
- Toasted Semolina pudding (Mamounieh)
- Date bundt cake with tahini glaze
- Knafeh cones
- Butter cake
As always, if you’ve enjoyed my recipe, please comment below to help others find and enjoy my recipe as well. You can also find me on Instagram at instagram.com/sweetpillarfood.com for more photos and videos of easy middle eastern food.
Crunchy and rich cardamom baklava is so perfectly delicious
- 1 box 16 oz 1 lb filo dough
- 1 lb total of either one or a mix of both
- Pistachio unsalted
- 2 cups 16 tablespoons ghee
- 2 cups 16 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoon simple syrup
- 2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Make sure filo dough is at room temperature
- On low heat, add sugar, water and bring to a boil
- Let it boil for 7 minutes stirring constantly until sugar fully dissolves
- Add lemon once all sugar has dissolved
- let it boil for additional 2 minutes
- Remove heat
- Crush nuts in food processor until they are small pieces (or by hand)
- Add sugar, syrup, and cardamom, set aside
- * important to add syrup so they all stick together
- Remove the filo dough from the box
- Place on a clean counter or tray
- Cover with kitchen towel so it stays warm and does not dry out
- Grease the bottom of a 9x13 pyrex
- Flatten one filo dough at the bottom, grease with melted butter
- Repeat until there are 5 filo dough layers with melted butter in-between each layer
- Make sure filo dough stays warm under the blanket while you are layering
- Add 1/3 of the nut mixture on top of the filo dough layers
- Add 1 layer of filo dough and gently press down so the nuts are compact
- Grease the top of the filo dough with melted butter/ghee
- Repeat for 4 more layers, (grease, filo dough, repeat)
- Add second layer of nuts
- Add filo dough, pat nuts down
- Grease, repeat for 4 more layers
- Add remaining nuts
- Top with filo dough
- Pour the remaining melted butter/ghee on top of the tray
- Put in the fridge for 1 hour so butter solidifies
- After 1 hour, you can cut into desired shape all the way to the bottom
- Pre heat oven to 350
- put in the oven uncovered in the middle rack for 40-45 minutes
- Remove from oven, let it rest for 2 minutes then pour room temperature simple syrup all on the baklava