Is it Baklava or Not? It's your decision!

easy baklava cups

Although I have not tasted Baklava, I have always been fascinated by it.  I saw an episode of Sandra Lee's semi home made cooking recently, where she prepared Baklava Roll Ups.  I felt that it was easier then the traditional baklava making.  I also saw A-kay's version of baklava.  It was the real deal.  In general preparing baklava requires some patience.  Actually I'm OK with the patience part; I love to do this kind of stuff.  Getting some quiet time is difficult for me.  With a toddler around, I'm always running behind him or the vice versa.  He doesn't let me do anything.  The only time I'm free is when he takes his afternoon nap.  So I thought of simplifying even Sandra Lee's version.  Anyhow I bought both the regular phyllo pastry and the phyllo pastry pre baked shells from the grocery store.  I thought I will make either her version or mine depending on the time I get.

I placed both the packets in the fridge to thaw overnight.  I pre-heated the oven at 350F, started preparing the pistachio and almond mixture.  When I thought of removing the phyllo pastry sheets from the packet, I heard my son running from his bedroom, he got up very early today.  So back it goes into the freezer.  I settled him giving some snacks and decided to do my version.  I removed the pre baked pastry shells from the carton, lined it on a baking sheet, drizzled some  honey, added a teaspoon of the nuts mixture and drizzled some more honey on top and baked it for 8 minutes.  It was nice and red on the corners when it came out of the oven.  After a couple of minutes, I was able to taste it and it was very good.  Since I have not tasted a traditional baklava, I don't have anything to compare it with.  For me it was a "tasty, quick fix, make ahead in case of a party and store it in the fridge" dessert.  Everybody in my family liked the taste.  That by itself is a big deal for me with picky eaters around.

Stage 1:
Pre heat the oven at 350F.  Prepare the nuts mixture.  I just took equal amounts of pistachios and slivered almonds, a tablespoon of butter at room temperature, sugar (as per your taste) and pulsed it in a food processor.  I did chop the pistachios roughly before adding it to the food processor.  Remove the pre baked pastry shells from the packet.  I had thawed it overnight, but later only I saw that thawing it for 10 minutes is enough.  So do go through the instructions in the package before hand.

phyllo pastry pre baked shells

Stage 2:
Line the pastry shells in a baking sheet.  Don't throw away the carton the shells come with, you can use it to store them after baking.  As always I tried only 5 of them at first.  But you can go ahead and do all at once because it came out well. There is nothing to mess up.  Drizzle some honey in the shells and then top it with the mixture and again drizzle honey on top of the mixture.  Bake it for 8 minutes or as mentioned in the instructions.

pastry filled with nuts

Stage 3:
Once baked take it out of the oven, either enjoy immediately or place the baked shells back in the carton and cover it with a saran wrap and store it in the fridge for later.

baked phyllo pastry shells

Variations:
1. Top it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for a gourmet kind of dessert.
2. If you let your imagination wild, you can come up with different kinds of stuffing.  For an appetizer, just bake the shells for 3-5 minutes and then fill with potato masala.  It will be a different kind of potato puffs, easy one too.  Fill it with anything from salads to chocolate mousse.

Update:
The baklava tasted really good even out of the refrigerator.  But one thing I would do the next time is mixing the honey with the nuts mixture itself, to bind it so that it doesn't spill while eating.  Actually for adults it's just one mouthful or two bites, it was not a problem, adding some honey on top of the mixture did bind it up, but my son was spilling it while eating.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. Madhuram

    My friend SS has sent the picture of baklava she made last weekend, telling that it was inspired by me. Check it out here. But now I’m inspired by her to try the original version.

    Thanks SS. I really appreciate it. 🙂

  2. Anjali

    Hi madhuram, this is just place I will be visiting for eggless cooking.

  3. arundati

    i always thought baklava was a copiously long process…this is such a better option!! looks wonderful!!

  4. Madhuram

    Thanks Roma for such a lovely compliment.

  5. Roma

    Madhuram, it looks simply delicious.
    Its amazing how you can churn out such exquisite recipes, one after another!

  6. Madhuram

    Sure Sushma, when can I mail it?

  7. sushma

    I haven’t tasted or seen this dish before.. i dont care what it is called can i have one please…neat and nice work

  8. Madhuram

    Thanks Uma, Alpa, Meera and Mamatha. Do give it a try and let me know. The beauty of these shells are it can be filled with any stuffing and you can have an assortment of various flavors at the same time.

  9. Mamatha

    Excellent idea and they look very fancy too.

  10. alpa

    i agree, def easier to eat and who doesn’t love individual sized goodies? i also liked how you used honey instead of simple syrup. i’m such a sucker for cute packaging 🙂

  11. Meera

    Awesome!! I am going to try it soon. Bookmarked.

  12. Uma

    Wow, what a wonderful creation! Baklava made simple! Love to try this. They look fabulous.

  13. Madhuram

    Mikka Nandri Cham. The encouragement I get from all of you really inspires me a lot.

    Akay, thanks for the detailed info. about the fat content. In general I’m a conscious shopper, I compare products for their nutritional value. But this time I really got carried away by the excitement of the new idea. Although I bought both the pastry sheets and shells, I did not analyse which one was low fat. I will check it out the next time I go to the grocery store.

    Thanks Dhivya. Not as amazing as your palmiers, I guess.

  14. dhivya

    WOw!innovative idea madhu:))love those pictures

  15. A-kay

    Bee, for the baklava that I did, I used about a stick and a quarter (although the original recipe asked for 3 sticks) of butter and the yield was about 40 good size pieces. That roughly translates to probably 3/4 tsp of butter per piece (1tbsp ~ 3 tsp). Compared to the butter in pastry sheets, I think the original version is definitely low-fat 🙂

    That said, I love this recipe for the ease of preparation – a quick fix for sugar-craving!

  16. Cham

    When it looks delicious and looks perfect who care about the name? They are awesome Madhu. Ungal sweet ellam vittiyasamaga ulladhu Madhu 🙂

  17. Madhuram

    Thanks everybody. I’m really excited that you all like this version of mine.

  18. A-kay

    This looks incredibly easy and a quick-fix baklava 🙂 Love this version of yours!

  19. Vaishali

    I don’t care what you call them, Madhuram, they look absolutely gorgeous!

  20. Namratha

    Ahh, this sure does make life easier isn’t it…I vouch for this one, the quicker I can get to the end product the better! 🙂

  21. SS

    Baklava by any name is as sweet 🙂

  22. bee

    that is so cool. i think i prefer this to the one what needs 4 sticks of butter.

  23. TBC

    I like your simplified version using pre-baked shells. I’ve seen Sandra Lee’s version. I’ve made baklava too and it’s on my blog, if you are interested. I followed Giada’s method.

  24. Purnima

    The pic is fab, who cares whats in a name, they surely look extremelyyyyyyy delicious!!!!!

  25. Laksh

    Neat! I think this version is doable 🙂 Thanks!