Persian Baklava (Baghlava)
This is one of the most popular sweet treats in Iran.
Sometimes, dried rose petals are used to decorate these, as well pistachios.
You’ll need a standard rimmed baking sheet. The dough also can be mixed by hand (this takes about 10 minutes) or with a stand mixer.
We found ground and slivered pistachios at Trader Joe’s.
The dough needs to rest for 1 hour, and the baked baklava takes about 1 hour to set up. It can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
From Washington cook Yeganeh Rezaian.
For the syrup
- 2 cups (384 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup rosewater, preferably Cortas brand
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
For the crust
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons for brushing and more as needed (may substitute melted unsalted butter)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (284 grams) sifted unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
For the filling
- 1 pound (453 grams) ground almonds/almond flour
- 1 cup (192 grams) granulated sugar (may substitute confectioners’ sugar)
- 3 tablespoons ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 pound (453 grams) ground pistachios (see headnote)
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- 1/4 cup slivered pistachios, for decorating (see headnote)
For the syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once the mixture begins to boil, stir in the rosewater and lime juice. Remove from the heat.
For the crust: Combine the milk, oil, eggs and 1 tablespoon of the syrup (you just made) in a food processor, pulsing until well incorporated. Gradually add the all-purpose flour; pulse or process until a non-sticky dough forms, adding small increments of extra flour as needed.
Divide the dough in half, placing each portion in its own bowl. Cover the bowls with a clean towel and let them rest at room temperature for 1 hour. The doughs will not double in size, but they should become somewhat firm, which will make them easier to shape.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk together the almonds or almond flour, the sugar, cardamom and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil. Lightly dust a work surface with flour.
Use a rolling pin to roll out one portion of the rested dough on the work surface, as thin as possible. Carefully transfer to the baking sheet, letting any extra dough hang over the sides. Spread the filling mixture evenly over the dough, pressing it gently into the dough.
Spread the ground pistachios evenly over the layer of filling, pressing them gently into the almond filling. Lightly brush or dab the pistachio layer with oil.
Re-dust the work surface and roll out the remaining dough as you did before. Transfer it to top the layers on the baking sheet, pressing the dough evenly all over, then press the overhanging edges of the top and bottom layers together to seal them firmly together all around the baking sheet. Tuck the edges under, as needed. (You will be cutting away these thick edges after baking.)
Use a sharp knife (and maybe a straightedge ruler) to cut the baklava into 35 to 40 diamond-shaped or square pieces. They should be of equal size. Generously brush the top surface of baklava with more oil; bake (middle rack) for 25 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden.
As soon as you transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool, pour the rest of the syrup evenly all over the baklava, allowing it to get into all the cracks and edges as you work. While the syrup is still quite sticky, sprinkle a few pistachio slivers at the center of each piece of baklava.
Let cool for a few hours before serving.
This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.
From Washington cook Yeganeh Rezaian.
Tested by Andy Sikkenga