Just in time for Eid al-Fitr, Baklava is a wonderful dessert to share with family and friends. Baklava is a dessert I grew up eating and has always been one of my favorites. The type of baklava familiar to me was the Greek and Middle Eastern style which has layers of phyllo pastry loaded with walnuts and drizzled with a sugary syrup. However, over the years I came to realize that there are other ways of making it, such as with pistachios, honey, chocolate and even dates…am I the only one who missed this memo! How come no one told me this sooner because I love baklava so much!
I just love dates too. The combination of dates and nuts go so well together that I decided to make my own version of a baklava with dates, nuts, a refreshing orange flavor and of course a syrup. You can also check out my other date recipe, Energy bites with dates.
This baklava is super easy to make since it’s made with premade phyllo pastry sheets and date paste. You can definitely make your own phyllo pastry and date paste, but for me as a busy mom, I look for ways to save on time and energy whenever I can!
This is not your typical baklava, but more my unique twist on it. It’s a little different as I incorporated fresh orange in the filling and in the syrup along with a hint of cardamom. I think it’s one of a kind and super delicious, so I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.
Can I Use Fresh Dates Instead of the Date Paste?
Yes, you can use fresh dates. If using fresh dates, remember to remove the pits before placing in the food processor and pulse until you get a paste consistency. In order to get a paste consistency you will need to add some water, add a little bit at a time until you get the desired paste texture. If you are using fresh dates for this recipe, it will be approximately 25-30 fresh dates to equal 1 lb of date paste.
What is the Best Type of Date to Use for this Baklava?
Since in this recipe we are using a date paste, it honestly doesn’t matter as the taste will not be altered. However if you are curious to know what date is better for you, that answer would be the medjool dates. The reason medjool dates are so good and better for you in general is because they are a fresh fruit. This means that they are not processed and not dried like the other dates you find on the market. And fresh is always better.
How Do You Use Store Bought Frozen Phyllo Pastry?
You will find your phyllo pastry in the freezer section. Keep it frozen until you are ready to use it. For best results, place the frozen phyllo pastry in your fridge and allow it to thaw. It usually takes 24 hours.
How Do I Keep My Phyllo Pastry From Drying Out While I Am Making the Baklava?
To keep your phyllo pastry from drying out, place a lightly dampened clean kitchen cloth over it while you are working.
Can I Make the Baklava a Day in Advance?
Yes! I actually recommend it because its completely cooled and letting it sit allows the baklava more time to absorb all the delicious flavors.
How Do You Store the Baklava?
The beauty of baklava is that it has a lengthy shelf life.
Once the baklava has completely cooled you can place it in an air tight container and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Storing the baklava at room temperature will keep the phyllo pastry nice, flaky and crisp. Anything longer than 2 weeks, I would highly recommend that it gets placed in the fridge in an air tight container.
I would not recommend placing the baklava in the fridge immediately after it has cooled as it will make the pastry chewier and harder, which is not the texture you want in a baklava.
Why is my Baklava soggy?
Do not fall victim to a soggy baklava. Please allow the baklava to cool completely and do NOT cover it while it is cooling. Leave it on the counter at room temperature and do not store it in the fridge
- 1 lb of date paste
- 1/2 cup of walnuts
- 1/2 cup of almonds
- 1/2 cup of pistachios
- Zest and Juice of 1 orange
- 10 sheets of Phyllo Pastry
- Melted butter for brushing over pastry
- *Optional- Extra finely chopped nuts for sprinkling over each baklava triangle
Ingredients for the Syrup
- 1/2 cup of water
- Juice of 1 orange
- 3 green cardamom pods
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a shallow rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In your food processor add walnuts and almonds first and pulse about 5 times or more to chop the nuts up. Note: do not chop too fine as you want to see nut pieces not powder.
- Set aside almonds and walnuts in a bowl.
- Next add pistachios to the food processer and pulse a few times but not too much as you want to be able to see that pretty green color in the Baklava. Set it aside with the walnuts and almonds.
- Place the date paste, orange juice, zest and nuts in the food processor and give it a good spin to combine all the ingredients. Note: If your food processor is strong enough to handle 1lb of date paste go ahead and place date paste in the food processor. If it’s not able to handle it, I would recommend placing the date paste into a large enough bowl with the orange juice, zest, and all the nuts and use a wooden spoon or your own clean hands to mix all the ingredients together well.
- Lay out 2 sheets of phyllo pastry (one on top of the other) and brush butter on both sheets gently. It doesn’t need to be completely covered in butter, just a little brushing is fine.
- Cut the phyllo pastry into 4 equal strips
- Place filling at the bottom of each section of the phyllo pastry
- Take one corner of the phyllo pastry where the filling is and fold it over into a triangle (keep folding it over onto itself until you reach the top – as if you are folding up a flag). Repeat this step until you have used up all the filling. I managed to make 20 large triangles however you can definitely make more if you use less filling in the individual baklava triangles.
- Place triangles onto the baking sheet, brush each triangle with butter and sprinkle with nuts.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 – 30 minutes or until phyllo pastry starts to turn golden.
- While Baklava is baking make the syrup.
Directions for the Syrup
- In a sauce pan add water, orange juice, cardamom, and sugar. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 2 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let steep for 20 minutes.
- Pour over Baklava as soon as it comes out of the oven
- Let baklava cool completely before serving. Best to serve when completely cooled and even on the following day.