Baklava (Ba'alawa)

This is my grandmother's recipe.  I tried, but I think you have to do it for over 50 years to get your Baklava looking as beautiful as hers!  This is a recipe in three stages, so give yourself a bit of time to assemble it. 

24 Pieces

330g caster sugar
250ml water
1 tbsp. orange blossom water
½ lime


  • Put the sugar and water in a pan on the hob on a high heat (don't use a non-stick pan for this)

  • Stir gently but constantly with a metal spoon until all the water is dissolved

  • Boil for 5 minutes the remove from the stove

  • Add the lime and carefully bring the syrup back up to the boil - it should remain clear

  • Stir in the blossom water, take the mixture off the heat and leave to cool

350g raw, peeled almonds*
1 tbsp. caster sugar
2 tbsp. orange blossom water
1 heaped tbsp. cinnamon


  • Blend the almonds, cinnamon and sugar together in a food processor until a coarse mixture has formed

  • Add the blossom water and briefly mix again to blend into a loose and crumbly paste

* To peel an almond, soak it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. The skin will then easily rub off


Pastry & Assembly
800g filo pastry
(If you can, buy this from a Greek or Lebanese store - this pastry is thinner than the standard supermarket type)
200g unsalted butter
100ml sunflower or light olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 160°C fan

  • Grease a large, shallow, rectangular baking tray (about 4-5cm deep)

  • Melt the butter and combine with the oil

  • Place a sheet of filo pastry on the tray and brush with butter, folding or adding to the pastry so that it lines the whole base of the tray. Continue until you have used half of the pastry

  • Spread the almond mixture over the pastry making sure to get an even layer on the whole tray

  • Layer the remainder of the pastry as before. Try not to press it down - this keeps the baklava light and fluffy

  • Cut or fold the final sheet of pastry so that it fits the tray as neatly as possible, lay it over the top and lightly brush with butter

  • Slice into triangles

  • Bake for 40-50 minutes (until the pastry is cooked through and a light golden brown)

  • Gradually pour the cold syrup over the hot baklava as soon as it comes out of oven, letting it absorb into the pastry.