Armenian Paklava

What can be better than layers and layers of crispy, honey-butter glazed paper-thin sheets of dough filled with chopped walnuts and cinnamon? Perhaps nothing! So good news! With this simple recipe perfected by my cousin Chrissie Tsaturyan, you can create the dessert of your dreams too! 

Chrissie Tsaturyan and Janelle Leatherwood Making Paklava

What ingredients do I need for Armenian Paklava?

  • Phyllo dough: These paper thin sheets of dough that for many generations had to be rolled by hand fortunately come pre-made and sold in the freezer section of your local Armenian or Mediterranean market. (If you're lucky, your local grocery store may carry it too.) Place a package of frozen phyllo dough in the refrigerator the night before you are making Paklava, so it has a chance to defrost. Put on the counter an hour before using, so that it can come to room temperature and be easier to work with.
  • Walnuts: This Paklava is made with walnuts, although some people use pistachios and other types of nuts.
  • Sugar and honey: A combination of both of these sweeteners makes a wonderful syrup.
  • Flavorings: Just the right amount of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, vanilla extract and ground cinnamon provide an addictive amount of flavor without overpowering the recipe. Many recipes call for the cinnamon to be sprinkled with the walnuts, but Chrissie also adds a little to the syrup.

and for the final guessed it...

  • BUTTER: Regular salted or unsalted butter is used.  We have found that there is no need to clarify the butter as some recipes call for, and you still get great results!

    How do I make Armenian Paklava?

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9"x13" pyrex dish with butter. 

    Chop walnuts or pulse in a food processor to a medium fine consistency.  You can leave walnuts a little coarser if you prefer. Toss walnuts with one or two teaspoons of cinnamon.

    Chopped walnuts for baklava

    In a separate saucepan, melt two cubes of butter (1 cup).

    Melted butter for paklava

    Unroll phyllo dough. If desired, you can lay a damp towel over the top of the phyllo dough to prevent it from drying out while you are working with it.

    phyllo dough for baklava

    Lay one sheet of phyllo dough in the casserole dish and with a pastry brush, apply a light layer of melted butter to the top. The first sheet of phyllo dough is the hardest to brush with butter. Place another sheet of phyllo dough on top and brush on another coating of butter. Repeat until you have 5 buttered sheets of phyllo dough.  

    Brush butter for baklava

    Then sprinkle chopped walnuts evenly over this layer.

    walnuts to paklava

    Repeat with 5 more layers of phyllo dough, brushing a coating of butter on each sheet of dough.  Spread another layer of chopped walnuts. Repeat these steps 4 more times until your layering is near the top of the casserole dish.  For the final layer, add 10 sheets of phyllo dough.

    Don't stress about the layering–it definitely doesn’t have to be perfect if you accidentally put more sheets on one layer. And you can work with and modify the number of layers depending on however many sheets are in the package. Believe me! With all the finger-looking goodness happening, no one will notice!

    Cut through all layers crosswise, into 8 columns. Then cut diagonally into approximately 5 rows. 

    You can also cut paklava by dividing with a cut lengthwise through the middle, then making two additional cuts on the top and bottom, for a total of four even rows and then cutting diagonally in the other direction. 

    Cut paklava diagonally

    Bake for about 45 minutes or until paklava is golden brown.

    While baking, make the sugar syrup: Heat water in a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir in sugar and honey and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer until it thickens. Then turn off heat and stir in lemon juice, vanilla extract and one teaspoon of cinnamon. Plan on the syrup cooking for approximately 20 minutes.

    Paklava Sugar Syrup

    Sugar syrup for paklava

    When paklava is done baking, pour over the top of the paklava.  It will sizzle and crisp up the layers even more. 

    pour syrup over paklava

    Let cool before serving and keep loosely covered (to allow circulation and prevent sogginess) at room temperature for 3-4 days.

    bake armenian paklava until it is golden brown
    Note: This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I could earn a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

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    • Laura O’Rullian Stewart on

      Oh my!!!! This looks amazing and easier than I thought to make. Thanks for the recipe cousins!

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