American Acacia Baklava with Pistachios and Walnuts

 Photo by: Kurt Wiegand

Baklava is one of those delicious desserts that looks almost too good to eat and certainly too difficult to make at home. But with a little help from frozen phyllo dough and our gorgeous American Acacia honey, you'll wow your family and friends with a dessert that's good enough to make them lick their plates and clamor for more - all for only a reasonable amount of effort! 

We chose to make this baklava with our American Acacia honey because acacia honey is a light honey, yet rich in flavor - just like baklava. This honey pairs particularly well with the bright flavor of pistachio and rich warmth of walnut to create a baklava that's just the right balance between delicate and substantive. 

Saratoga Tea & Honey's Baklava Recipe

Ingredients for Pistachio & Acacia Honey Baklava

For the Honey Syrup:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup of our American Acacia honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Nut Filling:

  • 12 ounces pistachios unsalted and shelled
  • 12 ounces walnut halves unsalted
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Pastry Layers:

  • 1 ½ cups butter (3 sticks) melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 pound of frozen phyllo dough, thawed

Making Your Baklava:

To make the Honey Syrup:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a deep medium saucepan. I suggest pouring a bit of the warm water into your honey jar to release what is stuck to the sides.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Reduce to medium low and let it simmer without stirring for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Pour the mixture into a measuring cup with a spout and let it cool completely. This honey syrup can be kept covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To prepare the Nut Filling:

  1. Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until very finely chopped, about 10-15 1 second pulses. Repeat with the walnuts and pour together in a bowl.

(Make sure you don’t over chop the nuts; a little bit of crunchy texture is what you’re looking for.)

  1. Add the cinnamon, sugar, and salt to the nuts and mix well.

To prepare for assembling the baklava:

  1. Preheat your oven to 300° F with tray in a middle to low position.
  2. Brush a 10-inch baking pan with melted butter and set aside.
  3. Unfold the phyllo onto a cutting board and flatten it with your hands, you will need about 30 sheets of phyllo total.
  4. Use your pan as a guide to cut the exact circle using a sharp chef’s knife, you may have to patch your phyllo to fit the pan.
  5. When you are not directly touching your phyllo, cover it with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out on the counter or cutting board.

To assemble the baklava:

Before assembling your baklava, I suggest that you keep a sheet of scrap paper to track your progress. Write down your own breakdown and keep a tally of how many layers you’ve placed, even the most skilled bakers forget how many layers of phyllo they’ve done!

Here is the breakdown that I used:

  • 8 sheets of phyllo
  • 1/3 of the nut mixture (about 1 and 2/3 cups)
  • 6 sheets of phyllo
  • ½ of the remaining nut mixture (about 1 and 2/3 cups)
  • 6 sheets of phyllo
  • 1 and 2/3 cups of the remaining nut mixture
  • 8-10 sheets of phyllo

 Assembly:

  1. Place one sheet of phyllo in the bottom of the pan and brush with melted butter, repeat this step 7 more times. Push out any air pockets with your brush.
  2. Distribute 1/3 of the nut mixture onto the top layer and gently cover with another sheet of phyllo. Pour a little bit of melted butter on the phyllo and lightly dab to spread it around.
  3. Add 5 more sheets of phyllo, and layer with butter every time.
  4. Layer ½ of the remaining nut mixture and repeat step 3.
  5. Add most of the remaining nuts, leaving about 2 tablespoons to garnish the finished baklava. Continue layering the phyllo dough and butter, finishing the stack with 8-10 sheets. Do not put butter on the top layer.
  6. Use your palms to press lightly on the surface of the baklava and compress the layers working from the middle out.
  7. Spoon about 4 tablespoons of butter on the top and brush to cover the entire surface.

All of this hard work will pay off, I promise! Each layer of phyllo and butter creates beautiful lamination and visible flaky layers. If you use a springform pan, like I did, you'll be able to remove the sides of the pan and get a good look at your handy work when it is cooled and ready to be served.

Honey and pistachio baklava seen from the side with gorgeous flaky phyllo layers dripping with honey
Photo by: Kurt Wiegand

Cutting the baklava:

  1. Using a sharp chef’s knife cut the baklava into 4 equal wedges and then in half again, making 8 equal wedges.
  2. Cut 2 parallel lines across the wedge beginning at the top, and then do the same to the opposite side of the wedge.
  3. Repeat step 2 for each wedge until the diamond pattern is achieved. If this is too complicated or you prefer a different appearance, you can also cut your baklava into a grid.

I suggest consulting reference photos and practicing this design on a piece of paper before cutting as it is fairly complicated.

Each wedge should look like this when cut.

Bake and Serve:

  1. Bake until golden and crispy, about 1 and ½ hours rotating the pan halfway through to bake evenly.
  2. Immediately after removing the baklava from the oven, slowly pour the cooled honey syrup over your cut lines until only ½ cup remains.
  3. Drizzle the remaining ½ cup of syrup on the top and sprinkle each piece with the remaining nut mixture.
  4. Let it cool to room temperature for about 4 hours and cover with foil.
  5. Let your baklava stand at room temperature for 8 hours for the best flavor.

Baklava can be wrapped tightly in foil and kept at room temperature for up to 10 days, but I highly doubt it will last that long!

Green button with bee reading "Shop Acacia Honey"