Monday, 27 June 2011

Daring Bakers' June 2011 - Baklava

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

I don’t enjoy baklava very much as I find it a bit too sweet but as it was my first challenge I wasn’t going to say no. The word phyllo got me thinking and wondering if I even had tasted such a dough. It took me a couple of days to connect the dots and realise phllyo is actually FILO. It was such a duhh moment!

I wasn’t too keen on the filling and wanted to try a nut-free baklava and I ended up mixing sunflower seeds, to give a bit of texture, dried strawberries and chocolate chips. The result was satisfactory but I think I might stick to the original version in the future!

The phllyo dough was especially hard to deal with, but it is probably my fault as I don’t own a proper rolling pin. It wasn’t as thin as I would have liked it but ah well..

There are three essential parts to making baklava; the filling, the dough and the syrup.

Phyllo Dough 

185g all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
105ml water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon cider vinegar. I used malt vinegar

To make the dough, combine flour and salt. Add the water, oil and vinegar to the flour and mix until you get a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes and you will end up with a smooth, soft and almost elastic dough. Lightly cover the dough in oil and wrap it tightly in cling film. Leave to rest for 2 hours.

To roll the dough, use a chunk of dough as big as a golf ball. Make sure you flour your hands and counter thoroughly. Try and get the dough as thin as you can.

After each layer is rolled out, make sure you flour it excessively to ensure the next layer does not stick to it. (This was my mistake.)


50g Sunflower seeds
20g Dried strawberries
2 tablespoons of Chocolate chips
100g sugar
½ teaspoon allspice powder

Chop the sunflower seeds as finely as you can or if you have a food processor, pulse it on high until finely chopped. Combine with the rest of ingredients and set aside.


½ inch cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
150g water
100g sugar
150g honey
2 lemon slices
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice.

Heat the sugar and honey in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and let it boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain mixture. Allow to cool while the baklava bakes.

Putting the baklava together

As my phllyo layers were far from perfect, I decided I would hide its flaws but making baklava rolls instead. I followed this method and it was actually quite an enjoyable task. Oh, also remember to brush melted butter on each layer of the phyllo, another thing I forgot to do!

Bake at 150’C for 30 minutes, remove then cut the pastry to fit the specific size you want. Continue baking for another 30 minutes until the phyllo is brown and looks crispy. 

Once the baklava has cooled down, pour the syrup evenly over the top. Leave overnight as the syrup will absorb into the pastry, giving it a lovely texture.

Verdict :  I enjoyed making baklava but I think my next attempt will involve a more authentic flavour. I may also have to stick to store bought phllyo pastry..

Phyllo Dough on Foodista


  1. Welcome and hello to the Daring Bakers and congratulations on your 1st very successful challenge. I'm very impressed with your baklava rolls and the flavour profile of the filling does sound delicious well done.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Welcome! Congratulations on completing your first challenge so absolutely beautifully! I absolutely love your filling choice - it sounds and looks beautiful and delicious. Wonderful job!

  3. Hey! Congrats on your daring bakers challenge. They are so fun aren't they?

    I know you say you'd stick with a more traditional filling, but as a "not nut" fan, I really love your idea of using strawberries. I used dried cherries in mine and liked it a lot.

  4. Well done on your first challenge, the filling sounds super delicious!

  5. Oh wow did you ever do a great looking job, looks so flaking!

  6. Thank you all for your kind comments! It's made me feel really welcomed into the community! Looking forward to the next challenge already :) x

  7. You got a nice thin roll out on your phyllo despite the lack of a "proper rolling pin!" Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

  8. Welcome to the Kitchen! I like the sound of your rolls - the strawberry and chocolate filling would call to me anywhere... I am glad you tried something outside of the box, and I do hope you try this again! (I, too, will use store bought phyllo next time - at least until my kids are old enough to help!)

  9. Welcome to the Daring Bakers, love how thinly you were able to roll out your phyllo sheets. great job!

  10. Thanks Jo, Ruth and chef_d :) I'm not sure how the phyllo sheets turned out looking so flaky but I'm not complaining!

    ps. the 'rolling pin' I used was a wine bottle. Yes, the travesty! :p

  11. What a post! I will bookmark this phyllo recipe for a futur reference. Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Congratulations on your first challenge! Your baklava looks wonderful and I love your creative filling.