Traditional Serbian Baklava
24 - 26 pieces
Lets be real, baklava is one of those desserts that I once found very intimidating to make. Don’t get me wrong, I loved eating baklava as a child, but when I observed this beautiful dessert I would think how much effort, time and skill this would take to create! But then, last year, during the festive season I gave it a go. Turns out this Traditional Serbian Baklava recipe is surprisingly a simple dessert to put together. Nothing to fear afterall.
You will love this Traditional Serbian Baklava recipe! Flaky sheets of phyllo dough layered with walnuts and topped with a sweet, lemony syrup. It’s the perfect dessert for a family feast, holiday celebration or for anyone who needs a stash of something sweet in the fridge.
If you didn’t already know …
Baklava is a sweet dessert made of layers of flaky phyllo pastry filled with nuts and sweetened with a syrup of some kind.
Though the dessert is most often associated with Greek or Turkish restaurants, its exact origins aren’t really pinpointed to one particular country (not to my knowledge anyway). Some sources say that this recipe has origins in Armenia. The modern baklava that we know of today may have been invented in Turkey during the Ottoman Empire, and also modified in Greece. Since the Balkans were occupied by Turkey for roughly 500 years, it makes sense that this divine dessert made its way into our roots as well.
Each culture has their own variation or special tricks to their baklava, what I’m sharing with you here is my family’s Traditional Serbian Baklava recipe.
My tips for a great baklava
Usually when I try a recipe for the very first time, I tend to mess something up along the way. However, with a Baklava, you cant really go wrong. As long as you follow the actual recipe, all will go well. Also, the ingredients for this recipe are minimal which means less fuss. Here are some tips to help you along the way:
- Have all of your ingredients measured and prepared on the counter before starting the recipe.
- Be careful not to grind the nuts too finely so that you end up with dust for your filling. You want to still be able to taste the nuts and enjoy their texture.
- It’s important that the lemony/sugar syrup is cool when it hits the freshly-baked hot baklava. This way, the hot baklava layers will absorb as much of the syrup as possible. This is why making the syrup comes first.
- When you’re working with the phyllo dough sheets, keep them covered with a damp tea towel so they don’t dry out while you’re working. Trust me, this is very important! Each time you take one sheet, immediately cover the rest with the towel again.
- Make sure you brush every single sheet of phyllo dough with melted butter. This is also very important!
- Cut the assembled baklava into pieces before baking. Use a sharp knife to cut the pastry into pieces. You will not be able to get nicely cut pieces of baklava after it has baked.
- Once your baklava is ready, let it sit covered at room temperature for some time. Afterwards, leave the baklava in the fridge overnight. This allows the syrup to soak and soften the layers. For me, this Traditional Serbian Baklava tastes best when cold 😊.
My take on baklava
Now, I like to think I know what a good baklava should taste like. After all, I am Serbian, which means I have attended many festive occasions so I have an idea on what a consistently good baklava tastes like. All this Traditional Serbian Baklava comes down to is some walnuts, pre-made phyllo pastry and a lemon/sugar syrup. It’s really not as scary as it looks, the ingredients are simple, the process is basic. Other Balkan countries may have a slightly different take but the two constants in all baklava recipes are phyllo dough and a sweet syrup. Everything else is up to interpretation. If you can put together a cake well enough on your own then this is a good next step in your baking journey.
It’s hard to determine how many servings this recipe yields because you don’t know how many pieces of baklava a person will eat. It also depends on how you cut the baklava, and the size or shape of the pan. My pan yields about 24 baklavas. Yours will vary and that is perfectly okay! Not all baklavas are exact.
I have to say …
One thing this dessert should not be is – dry!
You have no idea how many times I have brought baklava here in New Zealand and what I got was a very dry pastry. This is a bit of a contrast to how I have grown up eating baklava.
For me, nothing rivals homemade baklava. The texture of flaky phyllo pastry. The crunchy nutty filling. And the warm lemon sugar syrup. It is exactly how this dessert should be.
The syrup is the part of the recipe that you may wish to skip as it does have a lot of sugar but please don’t! The syrup is what makes this dessert truly fabulous! All baklavas have some type of syrup, you simply cannot make a baklava without one.
Besides, after having one or two pieces your cravings will be truly satisfied! I like to have mine with a strong cup of coffee and I am in heaven 😊!
Making baklava at home may seem like an overwhelming task but trust me, it’s easier than you think. Take it from someone who use to see this dessert as the most complicated dish on earth! I hope this recipe helps you to make a delicious baklava at home from scratch.
Craving more phyllo recipes? Try this Gibanica – Serbian Cheese Pie as a savory treat!
Did you make this recipe?
All families have their own recipe, this Traditional Serbian Baklava is just one. If you have an interesting take on baklava, feel free to leave a comment below! You can also reach out over on Instagram and tag me with your creation of this Baklava.
|500g caster sugar|
|juice of 1 lemon|
|50g phyllo pastry sheets|
|500g ground walnuts|
|100g caster sugar|
|100g melted butter (for brushing)|