Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Bosnian Walnut Baklava

I grew up eating and loving my mother's delicious Greek style walnut baklava. We loved it so much that we used to make it all the time until one day my mother just decided that she just couldn't be bothered hand chopping all those nuts any more and she hung up her pastry brush and never made it again. I still have such fond memories of baklava though!

Baklava to me always means walnuts, which is a big surprise to most of the people I meet because most of the time the only baklava Aussies eat is pistachio baklava bought from the local kebab shop. I have to confess - until I was about 16 I didn't even know that pistachio baklava existed. But when I was 16 I got a great Lebanese boyfriend who introduced me to pistachio baklava. I admit we had several good hearted arguments about which baklava was better!

Even though I generally prefer pistachios over walnuts, to me, walnut baklava has always had my heart! So when I found out that they eat walnut baklava in Bosnia my heart swelled with the idea of making it again!I bought piles of walnuts and steeled myself for a long time chopping, because one thing I have learnt from making baklava in the past is that you MUST chop the nuts very finely, don't be slack and leave them chunky because your baklava will fall to pieces when you try to serve it up! So I started to chop all my walnuts and then I realised that since I used to make baklava with my mother food processors had been invented! So much quicker!

What's your favourite type of baklava?

25 sheets filo pastry, thawed if frozen (should be about 1 box)
5 cups walnuts, ground coarsely
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
Non dairy butter or margarine for brushing, melted

To Make:
1. Lay the filo pastry out ready to use and cover with a damp tea towel (not too damp though!).
2. Mix the ground walnuts and nutmeg together.
3. Brush the bottom of a large baking dish with melted butter and lay a sheet of filo over it. Fold in the edges so that it fits the dish. Brush the top with more melted butter. Repeat, doing 8-10 layers of filo.
4. Spread half of the walnut mix on the top of the pastry.
5. Cover the walnuts with another 5-6 layers of pastry and butter.
6. Spread the remaining walnuts over the top of that.
7. Layer another 8-10 layers of filo pastry over the top, neatening any edges as you go so that it doesn't spill over the top.
8. Brush the top with plenty of melted butter. Cut the top diagonally into diamond shaped slices, cutting just through the top layers of pastry. Like this:

9. Bake in a moderate oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown on the top.
10. While it is baking you can prepare the syrup. Put the water and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring frequently, until all the sugar is dissolved.
11. When the baklava is cooked remove from the oven. Whilst the syrup and the baklava are still hot pour the syrup over the top, covering evenly. Allow to cool.
12. Chill in the fridge over night (or for at least 3-4 hours).

Makes about 30 pieces of baklava.

Check out our other Bosnian recipes:


  1. Your baklava looks great!

    I have never tried pistachio baklava. I like walnut baklava, and poppy seed baklava is very tasty, too.

    1. I've never tried poppyseed baklava! But now I will!

  2. Till now i have tried only hazelnut baklava but will now try this also.The picture is very nice seems to be very tasty.

    1. Oh yum, I don't think I have ever had hazelnut baklava either! It sounds spectacular though so I'll have to try it.

  3. Looks just like my granny's baklava. (we are from Bosnia) You did very well! :)

    1. Best compliment you can give a cook :) Thanks!

  4. Thank you so much for the recipe. I have been craving baklava for a while, and now I can finally make it!
    By the way, I love your blog's name. (:

    1. Thanks Leah! Nothing beats baklava! :)

    2. Looks so delicious!
      I want to attempt it but got a few questions if you don't mind

      1)is nutmeg traditionally used. I don't have any at the momwnt
      2)how long do you cook the syrup for and what heat is applied.
      3) Can you be a bit more precise about oven temp please.

      I apologize if the questions are a bit dumb. I want to get this right..nuts aren't exactly cheap! Lol

    3. Hi Suzanne, questions are not dumb at all. It's better to check then end up with a ruined dish!

      1. If you don't have nutmeg you can leave it out and I'm sure it will still be delicious - nutmeg is more traditional but you can use a small amount of other spices if you like in it's place (cinnamon, cloves, ginger or cardamom would all be ok, but don't put too much as they can be overpowering).
      2. The syrup is heated over a medium heat (not hot enough for it to start simmering, but hot enough that it only takes a few minutes for the sugar to dissolve), it doesn't need to cook for long. Just until the sugar is dissolved, it should be runny to pour on and it thickens as it cools.
      3. A moderate oven is generally 180 degrees C. However, ovens can vary and some oven temp gauges aren't that accurate, so it's difficult to be precise. If you find your oven tends to be a bit on the hot side (tends to burn things easily), then you may want to drop the temperature down a bit to be safe (nuts are too expensive to burn!). If your oven is pretty normal than 180 should be fine.

      Hope that helps with all your questions, please let me know how it turns out.

  5. I LOVE baklava. it's at the very top of my list of 100 things to make. this recipe looks fantastic.

  6. I made this tonight except syrup made with honey and sugar, added a little Lemon peel to the water and two cinnamon sticks. (Discard lemon peel and cinnamon sticks prior to pouring over baklava)