Wednesday, 6 July 2011


When you think about Turkey what is one of the first things that comes to mind? 

Camel wrestling?
Oil wrestling?
Yogurt festivals?

If your like me Baklava would have to be one of the first things.  

Now here Baklava can be a labour of love because we make the pastry sheets by hand, rolling it out as thin as possible so that it is transparent.  For the baklava purists they say it isnt baklava unless you use 77 sheets of pastry. I am not a Turkish woman so I havent grown up making it from the age of 7.  For me to make 77 sheets would take all day.  I make mine with 30 sheets and that still takes quite along time.  If I wanted to cheat I could go to the pastry shops and buy the sheets from there.  They sell them at a very reasonable price, in fact the other day my husband came rushing home from work telling me that there is a pastry shop near his work selling 20 sheets for 4 lira (thats a good price) and then in the same breath said do you want me to buy 60? While I enjoy making the sheets myself I think this weekend I will surprise him.  

Making baklava is very easy and if you make it people will rave.  

1pkt phyllo pastry-defrosted
2 cups crushed walnuts
250gr butter/margarine

3 cups water
3 cups sugar
few drops lemon juice

Try and use a baking tray that is about the same sheet as they phyllo or you will have to break it up making it all a bit messy.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Oil your baking tray first then lay your first sheet of phyllo onto it.  Using a pastry brush, brush the sheet with the melted butter.  Lay on the next sheet and continue until you have used half the pkt.  Take the walnuts and spread evenly over the pastry.  Then start by layering the rest of the phyllo sheets.  Dont forget, pastry then butter then continue. Taking a sharp knife cut into squares or diamonds.  You want to cook this in a moderate to hot oven for 15 minutes until it is a golden brown.  Keep a check on it you might have to turn the temp down depending on your oven.  While that is cooking make the syrup.

Put all the ingredients for the syrup and bring to the boil then boil for about 10 minutes until it has thickened.

Take the baklava out of the oven and pour the syrup over it slowly.  You want both the syrup and baklava to be hot when you pour.

Let it sit until they syrup has soaked up.  Then you can serve.  It looks nice if you have some crushed walnuts sprinkled ontop.  If you want a higher baklava just use more phyllo sheets.  Will you go as high as 77?

Tray of Baklava
Because this is a Turkish food blog I am giving you the typical recipes.  The baklava is made just like this all over Turkey.  I am living in Gaziantep and it is very famous for its baklava, they make it just like I have described.  There are many recipes out there saying you can include cinnamon in with the walnuts or cinnamon sticks with the syrup.  You can add honey in with the sugar syrup and you can even layer the walnuts in with the phyllo layers.  All of those are very nice so it is really up to you on how you make it.

Having said I am living in Gaziantep and that Antep is world famous for its baklava I also have to mention that they make it with Pistachios.  Everywhere else they use walnuts but here Pistachios are favoured because they are grown  locally in the mountain heat.

This is green from the pistachios, my favorite - Sarma and it is absolutely divine


  1. Camel wrestling - seriously?!?

    The Greek version of baklava is what I'm used to (walnuts, cinnamon, lemon & honey), but the pistachio kind sounds really good! Unfortunately, pistachios are about twice as expensive as walnuts are here, so I probably won't be making Sarma any time soon. :(

  2. I love pistachio anything so Im eating pistachio icecream everyweek etc making the most of it.

  3. I'd like to see oiled camels wrestling over yoghurt- I'd pay for a ticket to that!
    I've made baklava with rosewater in the syrup, is that a turkish idea or greek do you think?

  4. Its regional the Turks have been known to put rose water in thier syrups. Im sure the Greeks have plus the odd Syrian.

  5. Yes Michelle Camel Wrestling - I am in the wrong area to witness it but I have seen it on the tv.