This citrus-y and spicy take on the classic Middle Eastern dessert is great for holiday dinners or potlucks. Baklava takes a while to make and is best to make the day before so the syrup and flavors soak in properly, so make sure to give yourself enough time to make this! I’ve given the measurements for ingredients the way I make it, but you can adjust the amount of cinnamon, orange juice, and sugar so it tastes to your liking!
Orange Cinnamon Baklava
- 9 x 14 tray
- 5 cups nuts of your choice (I used a combo of walnuts, pistachios, and pecans)
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 1 ½ tbsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 2 ½ sticks butter
- 16 oz phyllo pastry
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cup honey
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 cup water
Important steps before you start
- Thaw the phyllo pastry, preferably overnight in the fridge, and then out at room temperature for an hour before cooking.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Preparing the baklava
- Cut your phyllo dough to fit perfectly in your tray. Ideally you want the dough to be the exact size of the tray so that you have even and straight layers.
- Prepare your nut mixture. Pulse the nuts in a food processor until they are crumbled. You can leave them more chunky if you prefer but make sure they’re evenly sized so your layers come out even!
- Add the cinnamon powder and cardamom powder to the nut mixture. Mix the nut mixture thoroughly.
- Melt your sticks of butter until they are fully liquid. I melted mine in the microwave, you can also melt it on the stovetop but make sure it doesn’t brown.
- Butter the bottom of the tray.
- Start placing the phyllo sheets into the tray one at a time, buttering each sheet with a brush, until you have a stack of 10 buttered phyllo sheets at the bottom.
- Place a layer of the nuts on top of the phyllo sheets, about 1 cup of nuts, and spread evenly to the edges.
- Place 5 more sheets of phyllo on top of the nuts, buttering between each layer of the sheets.
- Add another layer of nuts, again about 1 cup spread evenly.
- Repeat layers of 5 sheets of buttered phyllo pastry and 1 cup of nut mixture until you run out of nut mixture.
- Place 10 sheets of buttered phyllo sheets at the top of the baklava, making sure that every layer all the way to the top is buttered!
- Once the layers are complete, cut the baklava into squares before baking. It’s vital to cut it before baking as it will be a lot tougher to do once baked.
- Once the baklava is cut, place it into the oven at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 mins.
Preparing the Orange Syrup
- While the baklava bakes, prepare the orange honey sugar syrup. Heat a pot on medium heat.
- Add the water, orange juice, sugar, and honey to the pot and bring it to boil and keep stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 4 minutes. Then, take if off the heat and let it cool.
- When the baklava is almost done baking, heat up the syrup and make sure the sugar is dissolved.
- Once the baklava is done, take it out of the oven and pour hot syrup all over it immediately. You will hear a crackling sound, this is completely normal!
- Once the syrup is poured, let the baklava sit out uncovered for a couple of hours until it is cool and solid.
- Make the baklava as ahead of time as you can. Ideally you would want to serve it the next day or after at least 6 hours, but if you’re in a rush, or just getting hungry, it’s fine to dig in!
- The baklava can be stored out at room temperature for a couple of days, but after that it should ideally be refrigerated.
- I like my baklava really chunky and full of nuts, but if you prefer less nuts in yours reduce the quantity to 4 cups.
- You can use any nuts you’d like, but I’ve found that the walnut, pecan, and pistachio combination goes really well with the spices and orange flavoring in this dish.
Enjoy and please let me know of any feedback or submit any questions in the comments!