January 19, 2012

Baghlava - Persian Baklava

I do miss the days that my father would come home from work carrying a ja'beh shirini (box of sweets) freshly baked from our local bakery store. He'd almost always walk in through the doors with either some seasonal miveh (fruits), naan (bread), or shirini (sweets). And those delicious sweets would be just as enjoyable for my father as it was for the kids. How could the taste of baghlava make such an everlasting impression upon my mind? Was it that it was brought home by my father usually for Nowruz (Persian New Year) and I would get to eat it while sitting next to him, hearing him make his usual "mmm" sound with every bite? Was it that most desserts tasted delicious as a kid, let alone the most traditional desserts that were made to perfection? Or is it the nostalgic memories of childhood that turn the flavors and aromas into a wonderful experience?  باقلوا Baghlava (baklava) was a favorite in our home back then and happens to be a favorite among my own family now. Who doesn't love the decadent taste of baghlava, followed by sips of hot tea or coffee?

You can use a combination of any finely ground nuts for the filling, make stacks of several layers of dough and fillings to bite into, or make it as syrupy as you like. However, Persian baghlava is neither chunky or too gooey and is usually made with pistachios and skinless almonds along with ground cardamom and the sugar rose water, saffron syrup. The best baghlava in Iran is from the city of Yazd.

Baghlava - Baklava


1/2 pound skinless almonds, lightly toasted, finely ground (I used slivered almonds)
1/2 pound shelled pistachios, finely ground
1 package of phyllo (thawed overnight if frozen), I used 20 pieces of  9" x 14" phyllo pastry sheets
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup of unsalted butter, melted


1 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons honey *optional (I used orange blossom honey)
1 cup of water
1/2 cup rose water
1/8 teaspoon powdered saffron

  1. In a medium sized bowl combine the chopped almonds, pistachios, two tablespoons sugar and the ground cardamom. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a small pot and bring to a boil on medium heat for about 15 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Add the saffron to the syrup, lower the heat, simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, add the rose water and allow to cool.
  5. Lightly butter the inside of the baking pan.
  6. Place the first phyllo dough sheet down and lightly brush the melted butter across covering the entire surface.
  7. Add four more pieces of phyllo dough and lightly brushing each with melted butter.
  8. Add a layer of ground almond/pistachios.
  9. Add five more pieces of phyllo dough sheets lightly brush each sheet of phyllo dough with melted butter. 
  10. Add another layer of the chopped nuts covering all areas.
  11. Place five more pieces of phyllo dough, lightly brushing each with butter.
  12. Cover the phyllo dough sheets with another layer of the crushed nuts.
  13. Place the last five layers of the phyllo dough sheets and brush the surface with butter.
  14. With a sharp knife cut across diagonally to make diamond shapes.
  15. Place the baking pan on the center rack of the 350 degrees Fahrenheit preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the top is golden.
  16. Take the tray out of the oven and turn the oven off.
  17. Pour half of the cool syrup all over the baghlava and place it back in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
  18. Remove the pan from the oven and pour the remaining syrup over the baghlava and let cool for at least a couple of hours before serving. (It tastes much better the next day so you may want to make it ahead of time).
  19. To sum it all up, this recipe has 4 layers of 5 phyllo dough sheets and 3 layers of ground almonds and pistachios. It keeps well for a few days but more than that I couldn't tell you!
Garnish with chopped pistachios, almonds or crushed rose petals and serve with hot tea or coffee.



  1. I love, love baklava! Yours look absolutely amazing.

  2. very nice! loving your new photography style, Azita Joon. x s

    1. Thanks, Shayma joon! I've come a long way with my photography skills but there's still so much to learn. I'd love to take a photo class one of these days.

  3. So different from the recipe I am used to bake (but then again, it's not a persian version). These sound so wonderfully layered with different flavours, I will definitively try it ! Thank you !

  4. What fabulous timing. It's my husband's birthday soon and he adores baklava. I'll have to give it a go!

  5. salam,

    mmmmm !les baklavas de l'Iran,les gaz et sohan, j'aime lorsque agha jon (rahmato Allah aleyh) me ramenait des boites, comme à une petite fille, et que je mangeais le tout avec bonheur.
    Maintenant c'est du passé, 20 ans que je ne suis pas retournée en Iran.


  6. We're from the same country! I can feel every single word you say!!! :)

  7. I just discovered your blog! Very nice!

  8. Persian baghlava is truly the best. Yours looks gorgeous, as everything you make does!

  9. hello azita, :), that looks delicious. have a nice day

  10. I can resist chocolate, ice-cream, cakes but I simply cannot resist any Persian sweets even a simple halva kills my will power

  11. Thank you for sheering this, Azita!I love any sort of baklava!

  12. خیلی خوب و خوشمزه :)

  13. gracias por tu blog es muyyyyy buenoooo!!!saludos de españa

  14. such a nice website! love your photos.

  15. I discovered your blog about month ago and oh my god, I love it! Beautiful picture! Nice name ! Tasty recipes ! I have made the Ghaliye mahi and noon berengi , every one in my family enjoyed it, thank u for sharing!
    I am going to make this recipe as well, I was wondering if I can replace pistachio with walnuts ?
    Thank u

    1. Setareh jan, thank you very much for your kind words and I'm so glad you find my blog useful. Yes, you can use walnuts instead of pistachio.

  16. I made these for my husband who is Persian. We both loved them. He said they tasted the same as the baklava he ate in Iran.

  17. Beautiful baklava! Any recipes for Persian Ghottab??!

  18. Azita these look amazing!! Can I ask what size pan did you use?
    By the way, like the above commenter said, it'd be great if you posted a recipe for ghotab :)

  19. Love your recipe! I coarsely grind my pistachios along with 2 cups of white chocolate pieces or chips and it gives it a nice touch too :)

  20. Just bought some phyllo sheets. Thank you for sharing your family's recipe. I am going to make for Thanksgiving.

  21. I love baghlava. Do you have a good recipe for Qhotab too?
    How about a recipe for baghlava without phyllo sheet, i remember my mom used to make the dough from scratch but unfortunately I don't have the recipe.
    Thanks for your help.

  22. I made this recipe tonight and it was a hit at my book club. Thanks for sharing it.

  23. Hello! I have planned to cook baghlava for tomorrow but I didn't find any phyllo sheets but I bought something called "feuilles de brick" which is not exactely the same, it is very thin sheets of pastry... Did you ever use them? do you think I should put less layers? Thanks a lot

    1. Alice, I have never used feuilles de brick and I think they have a different flavor than phyllo sheets. Yes, you may want to use less layers. Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

  24. Hi Good morning! it turned out pretty well, the first layers of the baghlava were crusty and in the middle they were not, and the syrup joined all the layers together. It tasted very good all my guests enjoyed it and now I still enjoy it as there was some baghlavas left :) I did the same recipe as yours (I did not reduce the number of sheets in each layer) so it was fine :) If you want to have an idea of how it looks I put my photo on instagram and I tagged your account on it so that you can see! thanks a lot

  25. Hmm, I've only had baklava once, and it didn't seem to taste good to me (then again, it was made by someone who's baking skills were... well, ok). But, after seeing this, I think I may make my own Baklava and see how I like it :]

  26. what type of pan do you reccomend?