Rose and pistachio baklava

Rose and pistachio baklava

B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself

I have a confession to make: I may be pathologically addicted to baklava. Living in north London, we are surrounded by enough different food traditions to make your head spin. I’ve had Turkish, Greek, Israeli and Moroccan versions of baklava within a few miles of my front door. This is my own ‘north London baklava’ recipe and it’s simple. It uses shop-bought filo pastry for one reason only, and that is that every single person who ever gave me a hint or a tip or a nod about making baklava uses it, too.


Quantity Ingredient
200g granulated sugar
100ml water
2 teaspoons rose water
200g pistachios
75g icing sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds, (pop the seeds out of green cardamom pods and bash them small)
150g unsalted butter
250 g pack ready-made filo pastry sheets

Tool kit

Quantity Ingredient
food processor
pastry brush
small baking tin, (about 25 x 16 cm, preferably not non-stick)


  1. First make the syrup. Dissolve the granulated sugar in the water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the rose water and simmer for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and leave to cool.
  2. Put half the pistachios, the icing sugar and ground cardamom in a food processor and blitz for 30–60 seconds.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat, or in the microwave, and brush a layer on to a small, preferably non-stick baking tin (about 25 x 16 cm).
  4. Cut each filo sheet into 3 equal pieces to fit the shape of the baking tin and lay the first in the bottom. Brush with butter. Repeat until 4 layers of filo have been laid down. Sprinkle over half the blitzed pistachio mix.
  5. Butter and lay 6 more sheets of filo into the tray, then spread the remaining pistachio mix on top. Sprinkle over the remaining 100 g of whole pistachios and spread them out evenly. Layer and butter the rest of the filo on top (there should be about 6 more sheets).
  6. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Take a very sharp knife and cut halfway through the baklava in horizontal lines around 3 cm apart. Cut diagonal lines (again halfway through) across this to make diamond-shaped baklava. Bake for 40 minutes until light brown.
  7. Leave to cool for 30 minutes in the tin before pouring all the syrup evenly over the top. Allow to cool completely. The longer it is left, the more syrup will soak in, and the more delicious it will be.
  8. Take the sharp knife and cut over the indentations you left earlier, this time going all the way through to the bottom. Serve the diamond shapes on a plate.


  • This recipe has a level 1 (beginner) difficulty.


  • Another favourite baklava flavouring is toasted almonds and walnuts with orange blossom water: it’s off the hook! Honey and lemon work brilliantly together, too. This diamond shape is by far the simplest to make, though many others exist. I really like rolled baklava, which are fun to figure out how to do. If you’re going to attempt a rolled baklava, layer your filling on top of about 4 sheets, then roll, instead of just rolling up one long sheet; this will stop the baklava from tightening up and allow it to grow as it cooks.
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