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Clarified butter in Balkava?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Can someone please tell me: What is the main difference in baklava using clarified butter vs non-clarified butter?

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 29
cchiu, Clarified butter has had it's milk solids and scum removed. Thus providing you with a fat that has a higher burning point.also Pyllo is very tender,as I'm sure you know, so the smoother the butter (melted) the less apt you are to tear the sheets. But I do not clarify my butter when I make baklava, I feel it adds a little flavor. Last week at work I made caramelized stuffed red pears Stuffed with Roquefort cheese and served with warm baklava and orange blossom water, served it wish 89 doisy Verdains
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
post #3 of 29
I'm not a pro baker, just a food nut, but I can say that whenever my wife makes baklava it's unclarified (just plain melted) butter.

Here's the real tip to heavenly crispy baklava, she says: do the syrup first, and let it cool. Then pour it over the phyllo while the pan is still warm.

Cool syrup, warm phyllo. That's how you get the best baklava, the wife says. And I'm a witness that it's true.
post #4 of 29
I've had this recurring problem with baklava that I can't figure out. It's off the topic, but since we're talking about baklava, mine separates after I re-cut the pieces. Doesn't matter if I add more or less syrup. Doesn't matter if I weigh the baklava down during the 1st half of baking. I've even tried adding more sugar to the nuts, in hopes that it will melt the top down onto the filling. Any suggestions out there?
post #5 of 29
They tend to separate at the point where the nuts meet the top layers. The problem may be that I cut them very small, but I don't like serving large pastries. I have tried letting it sit in the cooler for 24 hours, and that has not helped. A couple days more might do the trick?
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

I have never had that problem with my baklava either. Posting the recipe would help.

I also wonder, how do you chop the nuts and what kind of nuts do you use?
post #7 of 29
I use pistachios. The recipe is at work; I'll get it tomorrow. Thanks!
post #8 of 29
In using the melted butter, you may make your baklava soggy if you don't keep it well stirred. (get to the bottom of the pot and all that's left is the butter water)

you may want to weigh down the baklava after pouring the syrup over top.

bake, cut, syrup, weigh down for a few min.

could work maybe?
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!

Professor Pastry
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!

Professor Pastry
post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 

Yes, I am familiar with this technique. It is a good tip for this kind of dessert. Syrup must either be cool and poured over hot baklawa or hot and poured over cooled baklawa. Never pour hot syrup over hot baklawa; it will make it soggy.

Also, if you can sprinkle water over top (before putting in oven) to prevent phyllo from curling up.
post #10 of 29
I believe I've tried weighing it down after syrup, but maybe not enough.

I'm always worried about steaming it by weighing it down when it's hot.
post #11 of 29
momoreg, what do you mean by separates? You mean that when you remove the pieces from the pan it splits in two (at the nut strata)? Or you mean the very top leafs of phyllo come off?
post #12 of 29
If it's that the piece comes apart in the middle (at the nut layer) the only thing my wife knows of to combat that is to leave it in the pan for a couple of days before you cut it, which apparently increases the adhesive power of the syrup.

Which is a darn shame because of course it's best warm...

[This message has been edited by Live_to_cook (edited 12-11-2000).]
post #13 of 29
Here's the recipe:

1# phyllo
8 oz. butter

Unclarified butter, brushed between each sheet. Half of package comprises bottom of baklava.

10 oz. chop pistachio
2T sugar

This filling is pretty dry. Maybe it needs some more moisture??? I've tried a touch of syrup, to no avail.

Cut before baking. 350 degrees until done. Pour cooled syrup over.

1.25c sugar
1/2c h2o
1T lemon juice
1T orange blossom water

What do you think?
post #14 of 29
Also, mbrown, don't you think the top layers would get crushed if I REALLY weigh it down?
post #15 of 29
momoreg, Thanks for the recipe. Try marking the baklava with your knife before baking instead of cutting it. If you weight it down with something that is a little smaller then your pan you will not steam it you will actually push out the steam. I have a number of different size cuts of wood that I wrap with foil and place on top of anything from a Terrine to baklava with some weight on it.maybe you should add some whole butter to your filling, cream it with the nuts and sugar. That might help with the moisture.Either way, I'm sure your Baklava is tasty
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
post #16 of 29
When I have made Baklava, for every four buttered sheets, dust with the filling. four sheets, dust, four sheets, dust until you are done. bake, cut, syrup while hot.
1 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey
rose water or orange blossom
pinch o' salt

I am getting hungry!
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!

Professor Pastry
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!

Professor Pastry
post #17 of 29
Wow what a wealth of ideas to try!

Good point, capechef, I guess it wouldn't steam with a smaller weight than pan. I have never tried making it without pre-cutting it. Have you done it that way? And it doesn't crumble when you try cutting the baked product?

Mbrown, I will try that method, dusting periodically, rather than a single layer of filling. Seems like that might help it adhere better. I shall keep you posted, when and if I ever have time to make baklava again!

Many thanks to you both.
post #18 of 29
Sounds alittle redundant now, I do 4 layers and do a mixed nut (almond, pecan, walnut choose 2) sugar cinnamon and orange zest as the filling and don't have the separation problem. I also throw an orange peel and lemon peel in the syrup.
Baklava fingers....rolled cookies are fun too
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #19 of 29
Does anyone stud their baklava pieces with cloves? Don't know where it came from but with the orange water it certainly transports you to Middle East bazaar instantly... warm, intoxicating fragrance.
post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 
I've infused my syrup with cloves but never studded them.

Here's some questions for everyone...

Have you incorporated orange blossom water and/or rose water into your baklava?

Do you find that people not native from the middle east like or dislike this addition?
post #21 of 29
Cardamom, yum.

Orange blossom water is always welcome. Rose water has been rejected in my house as tasting nastily like perfume (as in the Greek sweet called "loukoumi" (spelling?) or "Greek delight").
post #22 of 29
A follow-up:

I made 2 types of baklava yesterday...One with the filling sandwiched thick between two flaky layers, and one the way mbrown described, with a sprinkle of nuts every 4th sheet. I did not have any separation with the first, because this time I added melted butter to the pistachio/sugar mixture. That helped immensely.

The other one turned out well, but not quite as solid as I was hoping for. It was flaky, crunchy, and delicious, but some of the tops fell off. I think I should have added more syrup, but I didn't want to water-log it. Anyway, mbrown and everybody else, thanks for your advice. It is much appreciated.
post #23 of 29
Not sure if this will help with the separation problem, but one tip I ran across is: lay down the last sheet of phyllo on top of a buttered sheet, but don't butter it; instead, give it a light spritz of water. Add nuts. Spritz the nuts with water. Lay down another phyllo sheet, butter, phyllo, butter, phyllo, etc.

The idea is that the nuts are encased in a pocket of phyllo whose inside is unbuttered, but faintly damp. This is supposed to help the sheets adhere to the nuts a bit. As such, it also keeps the upper sheet from slipping around on the nut mixture while you try to butter it.

Also recommended: spritz the very top sheet just before putting in the oven, which will keep the trimmed edges from curling.


Cutting down the thickness of the nut layer may also help. It doesn't stick to itself well. Maybe cut it in half and use fewer layers of dough in between.
post #24 of 29


Maybe for once I can be of some help to you all in my native US of A!!! .. here is the recipe straight from crete, greece...
1/2cup chppd walnuts or almonds
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
4 tbsp sugar
1 tspn cinnamn
1 cup butter
10oz phyllo

for the syrup
1 generous cup sugar
7tbsp honey
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
juice of 1 lemon

mix the walnuts or almonds with the breadcrumbs, sugar and cinnamon.Melt the butter. Preheat the oven to 350.
Grease a shallow baking pan large enought to accomodate the sheets of pastry.Brush the pastry sheets with butter and place the first 2 into the baking pan.Cover the upper layer with nut filling.Lay another buttered sheet on top and cover with filling. Repeat until you have completed 8 layers. Once you have added the 9th layer, cut off any excess patry from around the edges. Place one final buttered layer on top and cut a diamond shaped pattern into it. Sprinkle with water and bake in the center of a preheated oven for 30-40 min until golden brown.
To make syrup: boil sugar in 6 cups of water for 5 min. Add honey, cloves, cinnamon and cont to simmer. Remove cloves and cinnamon and stir in lemon juice. Bring syrup to a boil then leave to cool.Remove baklava from oven and pour syrup over it . For this stage either the pastry should have cooled and the syrup be warm, or else the pastry should be warm and the syrup cool sot the baklavas do not become soft!!!! cut into diamond shapes and serve.
Let me know what you think.
post #25 of 29
Domy, your recipe sounds great! When I make Baklavas, I use 1 kg (2.2lb) of phyllo sheets which in my opinion is the standard height for this traditional dessert. I prefer to use walnuts instead of almonds as I feel they give a better taste. A word of caution to all those who want to try this sweet tasting dessert. Make sure that Baklavas are well baked before pouring in the syrup, otherwise you will end up with a soggy dough!!
post #26 of 29
I've had the separation - may be when I had too thick a layer of nuts at the top layer. Anchoring it with cloves helps.
post #27 of 29
I learned to make Baklava in a Greek restaurant where it was always studded with cloves.

Baklava is a dish common to about 12 different countries (probably more...), with each country calling this dish their own and any other variations than theirs "not original".... So it's best not to state that you've made an "original" bakalava....

Generally, what I have found is that the Greeks prefer to use walnuts, or a blend of walnuts and almonds, and stud with cloves, and the farther east you go, Iran and Iraq, use pistachios and start to use the rose and orange flower water.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #28 of 29


There ARE so many variations, and preferences. I like baklava crisp, so it shatters in the mouth. My (Greek) husband insisted that the syrup be poured over BEFORE baking, but that makes a totally different dessrt that was similar to a regional sweet called something else... I also like clarified butter, usually mixed with some oil - the butter solids, if you get down to the dregs when you are brushing the top layer - the milk will bake darker and look "spotty"... and the baklava can end up soggy, too much moisture.
I was in a hurry once, making baklava for 300 and skipped the cloves - but was baking in a convection oven. What a disaster, I had crispy little bits of phyllo blocking the fan and all over! Ha!
(I hadn't noticed how long ago this was posted, when I joined this, oh well)
post #29 of 29
After years of making baklava by brushing butter on the layers, I tried filling a small inexpensive pump sprayer half full of melted butter and then used that to spray the butter on the phyllo dough layers. I keep the bottle in a container of hot water while making the baklava to keep the butter melted, changing out the hot water frequently. The sprayer cleans up in the dishwasher & by pumping a little hot water through the sprayer when done with the butter.
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