Maple Walnut Baklava

So… this weekend is the start of October. Yikes. That realization sent us into a stress frenzy recently – we still have a TON of exterior work to get done before the weather gets too cold/snowy!

For me, the start of October still means that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Canadian Thanksgiving falls on October 10th this year. We usually try to celebrate both Thanksgivings, with different menus. This year… I’m not so sure I can pull everything together in time. That sucks 🙁

I always look forward to the variety of Canadian dishes we serve for the October Thanksgiving. Tortiere, Butter tarts… Mmmm. This year, I had been looking forward to a new favorite: Maple Walnut Baklava. Kind of a Canadian-Greek crossbreed, and SO tasty.

Sigh. It’s probably for the best, having gone gluten free again.

Anyway, baklava is actually quite easy to make, despite what you may have heard. Just make sure your filo / phyllo dough has thawed properly, and it should work up quickly for you!


Maple Walnut Baklava

1 package phyllo sheets, thawed (1 lb)
1 cup butter, melted
1 lb finely chopped walnuts *
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Generously grease the bottoms and sides of a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Carefully unroll phyllo dough. Use a knife to slice the whole stack in half to make two stacks of 9 x 13″ sheets. Cover with a damp cloth to prevent phyllo from drying out as you work – it’s finicky, fragile stuff!

Lay two sheets of phyllo in bottom of prepared pan. Use a pastry brush to apply a thorough coating of melted butter. Layer with two more sheets. Repeat twice more, for a total of 8 sheets. Sprinkle 1/4 cup (50 ml) of the walnuts evenly across the top. Layer with two more sheets, butter, and 1/4 cup (50 ml) walnuts. Continue this pattern of two sheets, butter, nuts until you have about 6 sheets left. Layer two sheets, spread with butter, lay down two more sheets, spread with butter, and top with a final two sheets.

Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the baklava into diamond or square shapes, whatever size you’d like them. Be sure not to cut all the way to the bottom – cut to about 1/4 – ½” from the bottom. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. In the meantime, make the sauce.

In a small/medium saucepan, combine water, sugar, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes.

When baklava has finished baking, remove from oven and immediately pour the maple sauce evenly over the top. Let cool completely before cutting all the way through to the bottom, using the precut lines.

* You can substitute whatever nuts you like. I like the classic combination of walnuts with maple, but any nuts will work.

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.

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