The Daring Bakers Challenge - June 2011 - from Phyllo to Baklava!!

Erica of Erica's Edibles was our host for the Daring Bakers' June Challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make baklava.

Baklava is a sweet, rich pastry made with layers of phyllo dough and nuts sweetened with simple syrup. Baklava is widely known as a Greek dessert, but its origin has never really been pinpointed as many Middle Eastern countries also name it as their own.

Wherever it came from, this stuff is freakin delicious and I would say it is at its peak taste quality around day 4 or 5 after being made. The longer it sits in the simple syrup, the more delectable it seems to taste. I learned a lot during this challenge and now I can say I've made homemade phyllo dough, but I can guarantee you, it is highly unlikely I will ever attempt it again. Don't get me wrong - its delicious and the dough is spectacular to work with, but it is A LOT of work. The baklava on the other hand, I will likely make over and over again! What a fantastic recipe. I would half the amount of syrup you pour over the dessert, but other than that, its perfect!

You can find the recipe at the Daring Kitchen website with instructions, photos and suggestions for success. You can also find photos of other members' completed challenges and information on joining if you so desire. So do stop by and check it out! I'm pretty crunched for time, so I will just be providing you with a few photos and some of my thoughts about the whole process.

Firstly, if you are looking for a fantastic upper body workout, do attempt rolling out the phyllo with your rolling pin like I did. I was sore for a couple days afterward. But it sure was delicious dough. My friend D did hers with pasta rollers and had great success, so if you don't feel like putting in as much effort, but would still like to try your hand at making homemade phyllo, maybe try it that way!!

The recipe says to pour the entire amount of the syrup over the baklava. Don't do it! Your baklava will be swimming in it and it likely won't all absorb. I would recommend half of the amount or if you're adventurous, maybe 2/3 of the syrup. Flavour is delicious! You'll love it honestly!!

Don't hold back on the butter when you're brushing the layers of phyllo - the butter is what makes the layers flakey and tender and delicious. So go ahead, be naughty and amp up your calorie and fat intake for a special occasion! Its not like you're going to eat the whole pan (I hope!)!!

One more thing not to hold back on: be sure to add lots and lots of the nut, spice and sugar mixture between the phyllo layers. This is the yummy part that gives the dessert flavour and texture. I just wanted to eat the sugar & nut mixture by itself because it has my favorite pistachios in it!!

Next time I make this, I'll likely use storebought phyllo - in my opinion it is not really worth the extra effort of making it... but at least I can say I've tried it! I was happy with the results, just not the amount of work!

Thanks Erica for a truly challenging DB challenge! I learned a lot and definitely got to cross two things off my to-bake before I die list!!

Happy Baking my Friends!


  1. Awesome job on the Challenge!
    Pistachios are my favourite too

  2. Very nice job with your Baklava! Great photo!

  3. Your baklava looks delicious! Love the picture where the syrup pools around the nut-filled slice. We finished the baklava here in the house but now I'm craving for some more!

  4. Thank you guys for your kind words!!

    Chef_d: I don't think i'm quite ready to make this one from scratch again!! Maybe with storebought phyllo!! :)

  5. so beautiful and amaizing job!! Congratulations!

  6. Wow, well I give all of you who made the homemade phyllo a ton of credit. I'm not so sure I would want to attempt it myself! I also love baklava, it is the most indulgent and yummy treat to have in my opinion!