Serves a Crowd

Citrus and Cardamom Baklava with Pistachios and Walnuts

November  5, 2013
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves a small army
Author Notes

My Dad is Greek, so ever since I can remember we have had Baklava for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is the version I've created through years of eating my mom’s and other ladies' varieties. —Alexandra V. Jones

Test Kitchen Notes

“She’s a real dish.” That vintage nickname for a lovely lady certainly could have been inspired by a pan of baklava, with its glossy layers and sultry spice. Alexandra V. Jones elevates this classic with her recipe. The brightness of cardamom, paired with the citrus zests, ginger, and cinnamon, was a noticeable and welcome departure. The baklava from my favorite local bakery only uses walnuts and I enjoyed the soft richness from the addition of pistachios. Having never made baklava before, this recipe instantly claimed its place as a beloved dish at my house. —Cookie!

What You'll Need
  • Baklava
  • 20 sheets good quality phyllo dough, thawed
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound walnuts, pulsed in a food processor
  • 1/2 pound pistachios, pulsed in a food processor
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Zest of one orange
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • pinch salt
  • handful whole cloves, for decoration
  • Citrus honey syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Juice of one lemon (use the one you zested)
  • Juice of one orange (use the one you zested)
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, walnuts, pistachios, zests, and spices.
  2. Using melted butter, butter the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9-inch pan. Lay down one sheet of phyllo, then brush with melted butter. Repeat until you have seven layers. Top with one cup of nut mixture. Layer and butter three more layers of phyllo.
  3. Set aside 1 cup of nut mixture. Use the rest of the nut mixture to cover the layers of buttered phyllo. Top with three more butter-phyllo layers. Add the remaining 1 cup of nut mixture. Top with the remaining phyllo layers, buttering between each, and then throughly butter the top.
  4. Cut the top layer of phyllo into your desired pattern. I cut mine vertically into four rows, then horizontally into five rows, then cut each square on the bias. I like to put whole cloves in the middle of each piece. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. While the baklava bakes, make the syrup by combining sugar and water in a small sauce pan until it's bubbling and all the sugar has dissolved. Then add the honey. Remove from heat and add citrus juices. Cool.
  6. Top cooled baklava with syrup and cut. This should make about 40 small pieces.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • booglix
  • Alexandra V. Jones
    Alexandra V. Jones
  • Cookie!
Chef de cuisine @Shelburne hotel Seaview, WA

6 Reviews

booglix May 6, 2016
I made this tonight and found it excessively sweet. To me, it tastes mainly of intense sugar, which completely overwhelms the spices, the honey, and the citrus zest. (The citrus juice comes through.) So, just a heads up! I think I will try cutting way down on the sugar within the nut layers - I just noticed that another recipe on this site calls for 3 T of sugar in the filling, while this one calls for 3/4 cup.
Alexandra V. September 1, 2017
To each their own, my recipe serves as a guideline to suit your tastes...but my family has been making it for decades, baklava is not one for folks who don't like sweet desserts.
booglix May 6, 2016
Is that half a pound of shelled pistachio meats, or half a pound of pistachios in their shells (which is typically how one buys them)? Thx!
Alexandra V. September 1, 2017
Alexandra V. January 17, 2014
Thanks for the awesome review Cookie! Glad you liked it!
Cookie! January 17, 2014
Thank YOU for the fantastic recipe! It was my pleasure to make and eat!