"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all." ~Harriet van Horne


Baklava Cups

Published by: Kathy

  • May
  • 28

It’s probably no surprise that I am a big fan of baklava.

This Mediterranean dessert is made with phyllo dough, nuts, butter and sugar.  Immediately after baking, a sweet syrup is poured over the pieces, allowing the syrup to be absorbed into the pastry layers…Yum!  I was first introduced to baklava about 20 years ago.  One of my salesmen was Greek and his West Virginia-born wife, made the most amazing baklava I have ever tasted!  For Christmas, she would bake Maria (my one-and-only clerical employee at the time) and I our own personal baklava tray.  I would take mine home and in a few days, I would have eaten the whole thing by myself!  Last week I went to a party at my friend Roz’s house.  On the dessert table were miniature baklava cups.  They were delicious and the first thing I did when I got home, was go on-line to see if I could find a recipe.  The recipe I kept coming across was one from Sunny Anderson of the Food Network.  While some baklava contains only walnuts, other variations include pistachios, pine nuts, almonds, or other nuts common to the Mediterranean and the Middle East.  Sunny’s version uses equal parts of pistachios, walnuts and almonds, so I thought I would give it a try. 

Although I liked the results, I must caution you, that if using salted nuts, be sure to eliminate adding any additional salt. (Your best bet would be to use unsalted nuts, if you can find them.)  When I tasted the baklava filling, I knew immediately there was something wrong…It was a bit too salty for a dessert.  I added 2 more tablespoons of sugar, hoping to correct the blunder, but it was only after I added the syrup at the end that I found the sweetness I was missing.  Also, chilling the baklava cups before eating them made a big difference.  They were delicious and I love how easy they are to pop in your mouth!

Baklava Cups

  • ½  c.  pistachios
  • ½  c.  walnuts
  • ½  c.  almonds
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3  T. sugar
  • 2  T. butter, melted
  • 1  tsp. cinnamon
  • ½  tsp. salt (omit if using salted nuts)
  • ½  tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-3  boxes mini phyllo shells (15 shells each)


  • ¼  c. sugar
  • ¼  c. honey
  • ½  c. water 

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Arrange the pistachios, walnuts, and almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes.  Watch closely, so the nuts don’t burn!  Let the nuts cool slightly and add to a food processor, along with the lemon zest, 3 tablespoons of sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt (if needed) and vanilla.  Pulse to  finely chop nuts and combine ingredients.

 Place mini phyllo shells on a cookie sheet.  Add 1 teaspoon of the nut mixture into each shell.  Bake until filling is hot, for about 6-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, ¼ cup of sugar and honey.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook until reduced and slightly thickened, about 5-8 minutes.  When baking time is done, remove shells from oven and immediately pour 1 teaspoon of syrup into each cup and allow it to soak in.  Repeat with another teaspoon of syrup in each cup.  Refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight before serving.  Makes 30-40 cups.

 Recipe courtesy of Sunny Anderson, Food Network.



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