Ilya’s Baklava

Kali Orexi Sharing our Greek culinary heritage through video and stories. Ilya's Baklava Hero Landscape 5

What is the provenance of a dish? Who does the recipe belong to? Help me search for the answer…
To me, food, recipes, dishes, cuisines represent a continuum – an ombré of flavours and textures from the far east to the far west. Cuisines are not discreet culinary scripts practiced within prescribed borders. Geographical borders are determined on the battle fields, not in kitchens. For me, where one cuisine ends, the next begins and draws its influence from neighbouring cuisines and the overlay of history and artistry in that region.

Dishes are a multi-sensory, gustatory representation of time; of human history; war, occupation, peace, migration… They are a simple and complex expression of our humanity and creativity; the melding and fusing of flavours, textures, and aromas to excite the palate or comfort the heart or simply provide sustenance. And as a result, we are all richer for it.

So today, as we conclude Week 3 of the Meri Month of May, sharing recipes from my in-laws kitchen, from the Politiki Kouzina – the cuisine of the Greeks of Constantinople-Istanbul, The Poli (The City). I invite you to see food as a source of unity and not division; an opportunity to celebrate our collective culinary heritage and an opportunity for the ongoing evolution and exploration of endless gastronomic possibilities. 

And now it’s your turn… What do you think?

Ilya’s Baklava

Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek
Keyword baklava, dessert, greek desserts, greek sweets


  • 250g unsalted butter, melted and clarified 
  • 1 packet Antoniou Fillo Pastry 
  • 300g pistachio, ground medium 
  • 450g sugar 
  • 330ml water 
  • ½ lemon, squeezed 


Preparing the baklava 

  1. Cut the fillo pastry sheets so they fit in the baking pan 

  2. Set aside the off-cuts 

  3. Baste the baking pan 

  4. Lay 2 fillo sheets in the baking pan and baste them with the butter 

  5. Repeat 

  6. Lay 2 more fillo sheets in the baking pan (do not baste) 

  7. Evenly spread most of the ground pistachios in the baking pan (set 1-2 tablespoons aside to sprinkle on top of the baklava) 

  8. Layer the remaining fillo sheets on top, laying them down 2 at a time and basting them 

  9. Intersperse 2-3 of the off-cut pieces in-between the larger fillo-sheet layers and baste those too (be sure to use all the off-cuts up) 

  10. Use the larger fillo sheets for the final 2 layers 

  11. For this pan size, cut the baklava into 36 evenly-sized square pieces – making sure to cut all the way through to the bottom of the baklava 

  12. Ladle the remaining butter along all of the score lines and then all over the baklava 

  13. Bake the baklava at 180°C fan-forced for at least 30 minutes or until deep golden-brown on top and on the bottom 

  14. Allow to cool completely before drenching with the syrup 

Preparing the syrup and drenching the baklava 

  1. Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar 

  2. Place the saucepan on medium-high heat and bring to the boil 

  3. Once the syrup starts to boil, repeatedly check on it by dipping a spoon in and out of the syrup 

  4. Hold the spoon vertically above the syrup and watch the syrup drip from the spoon 

  5. When the last drop falls and the remaining syrup on the spoon springs back up with a little tail, the syrup is ready 

  6. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the syrup, then take the syrup off the heat 

  7. Pour the syrup along the score lines of the cooled baklava and along the edges of the baklava 

  8. Sprinkle the remaining ground pistachio over the top of the baklava 

  9. Allow the baklava to absorb the syrup for 3-4 hours at least 

Serving the baklava 

  1. Enjoy the baklava with a Greek coffee or tea 

  2. Kali Orexi + Afiyet Seker Olsun 

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