Date-Sweetened Baklava

October 22, 2018

Dessert

By: Chris Petrellese 

A vegan and refined sugar-free baklava that is sweetened with dates and will definitely hit the spot. Sweet, flaky, and melt in your mouth good. Need we say more?

Vegan Date-Sweetened Baklava with Pistachios, Almonds and Walnuts Overhead

Who is ready for some sweetness? Today we are baking up some baklava! For some reason, growing up, I thought baklava was fish ???? but I couldn’t be more wrong. Thankfully so, because this sweet treat has quickly become one of my favorite desserts.

Traditionally, Baklava isn’t vegan because it’s made with honey, but today we are veganizing it with a little help from our friends at Just Date Syrup. Just Date Syrup is a sugar alternative that just so happens to work perfectly as the liquid sweetener in baklava, score! It’s loaded with potassium, antioxidants, and has a low glycemic index so it won’t spike your blood sugar!  It can also be used for any other baking needs as well as in your coffee, tea, etc. With the date syrup, we were able to make this baklava refined sugar free and a better alternative to the traditional recipe.

Date Syrup and Nuts

If you’re still scratching your head and you aren’t even sure what baklava is, it’s essentially a sweet pastry made with flaky phyllo (filo) dough filled with a sweet nut mixture and topped with syrup. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? We used a mixture of almonds, walnuts, and pistachios as that is our favorite combination for baklava, but feel free to mix and match to your liking!

Just Date Syrup is available on Amazon and you can a discount until the end of the month using our code 10SWEETSIMPL.

There is a restaurant on the east coast called Mamoun’s and they serve up a next level baklava. The only downside is that it contains honey. We did our best to make ours taste and look just like that, minus the honey, and I think we did a pretty darn good job 😉

Date-Sweetened Baklava Step 1 Mixed Nuts

Baklava is all about layers. Grease a baking dish, layer in phyllo dough and then add in the date-nut mixture. Repeat two times!

Date-Sweetened Baklava Step 2

Add on the final 8 sheets of phyllo and drizzle any remaining melted butter over the top. Place the baking dish into the refrigerator for 1 hour so that the butter can set. This is a key step as it will help with the appearance of the final product.

Using a very sharp knife, cut the uncooked baklava four times lengthwise (into long rectangles). Then, cut across diagonally to create diamond shapes. You can do as many diagonal cuts as you would like, depending on how big or small you want your baklava pieces to be when cooked.

Date-Sweetened Baklava Step 3

Bake the baklava for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown and the edges of the phyllo is flaky. While the baklava bakes, prepare the syrup so that it has enough time to set and cool.

Date-Sweetened Baklava Step 4

Remove the baklava from the oven and set it on a heat-proof surface. Drizzle the cooled syrup evenly over the baked baklava while it is still hot.

Date-Sweetened Baklava Step 5

This is key because the cold temperature of the syrup against the hot baklava is what gives it that perfect sticky consistency once it sets.

Date-Sweetened Baklava Step 6 topping

Top the baklava with crushed pistachios and then allow it to sit at room temperature for several hours or overnight before serving.

Date-Sweetened Baklava Macro Side Shot

And then dig in! This is the perfect treat to enjoy during the fall and holiday season, and we can’t wait for you to try it for yourself 🙂

Vegan Date-Sweetened Baklava with Pistachios, Almonds and Walnuts Side Angle

Make sure you snag yourself some Just Date Syrup to make this recipe and experiment with it as a better alternative to sugar in all of your holiday baking! Try it in your coffee and tea too, for the perfect hit of sweetness.

+ If you post any photos on Instagram, make sure you tag us @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris so that we don’t miss it, we love seeing your photos!

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Vegan Date-Sweetened Baklava with Pistachios, Almonds and Walnuts Overhead

Date-Sweetened Baklava


  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 27 pieces

Description

A vegan and refined sugar-free baklava that is sweetened with dates and will definitely hit the spot. Sweet, flaky, and melt in your mouth good. Need we say more?


Ingredients

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups (11.87oz) pitted medjool dates, finely chopped*
  • 1 cup (5.4 oz) almonds*
  • 1 cup (4 oz) walnuts*
  • 1 cup (4.12 oz) pistachios*
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick vegan butter, melted
  • 32 sheets phyllo (filo) dough, defrosted

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup Just Date Syrup
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping

  • 2 tablespoons shelled unsalted pistachios, finely chopped or crushed

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, add in the dates, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse until the mixture is just roughly chopped. You do not want them to be fine as they will not have the right consistency for the baklava. Set aside.
  2. Grab your phyllo dough and a medium baking dish (ours was 10×8″).
  3. Placed it on a clean work surface and then put a baking dish on top. Be sure not to press down so hard so you don’t compact the phyllo. Using a sharp knife, trim the phyllo to the size of the pan. It is better to cut bigger than smaller here so if it is not perfect, don’t worry because once it bakes you won’t be able to tell. This step is optional, you can also just fold in the edges as you layer the baklava. This will just yield the best results.
  4. Cover the phyllo with a slightly damp tea towel to keep it from drying out. Set aside.
  5. Brush the bottom and sides of the baking dish with a thin layer of melted vegan butter. Lay on two sheets of the phyllo and then gently drizzle it with vegan butter. We did not brush on the vegan butter as it may rip the phyllo. Repeat the layering, buttering ever 2 sheets of phyllo, until you have a base of 8 sheets of phyllo.
  6. Add 1/3 of the ground nut mixture to the pan and spread it out evenly to the edges of the pan. If possible, try to avoid having large date pieces on the outer edge as they tend to burn easily.
  7. Lay on 8 more sheets of phyllo, buttering them every two layers, and then add on another 1/3 of ground nut mixture. Repeat one more time.
  8. Add on the final 8 sheets of phyllo, drizzling them with butter every two layers. Evenly drizzle any remaining melted vegan butter over the top.
  9. Place the baking dish into the refrigerator for 1 hour so that the butter can set.
  10. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a very sharp knife, cut the uncooked baklava four times lengthwise (into long rectangles). Then, cut across diagonally to create diamond shapes. You can do as many diagonal cuts as you would like, depending on how big or small you want your baklava pieces to be when cooked.
  11. Bake the baklava for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown and the edges of the phyllo is flaky.
  12. While the baklava bakes, prepare the syrup. Combine all of the syrup ingredients except for the vanilla extract in a small pot over medium heat. Warm the syrup for around 8-10 minutes, or until it has thickened but is still the consistency of syrup. Set it aside to cool. Once cooled, mix the vanilla in.
  13. Remove the baklava from the oven and set it on a heat-proof surface. Drizzle the cooled syrup evenly over the baked baklava while it is still hot (this is key!).
  14. Top the baklava with crushed pistachios and allow it to sit at room temperature for several hours or overnight before serving.

Notes

  • The drier the dates, the better! They will be easier to cut and spread through the baklava.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days.
  • Just Date Syrup is available on Amazon and you can a discount until the end of the month using our code 10SWEETSIMPL 🙂
  • We used a mixture of almonds, walnuts, and pistachios as that is our favorite combination for baklava, but feel free to mix and match to your liking!
  • Category: Dessert, Holiday
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Greek

Keywords: Baklava, Dessert, Holiday, Baking, Middle Eastern, Greek, Pastry

Nutrition facts label provided by Nutri Fox.

Disclaimer: The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional’s advice. This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!

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Recipe rating

  1. Ruth Cason says:

    Sounds amazing. Can’t wait to try it.

  2. JUST the recipe I needed! I only had baklava once but I fell in LOVE with it. The dates add the most glorious sweetness, stickiness, and overall caramel flavor to the filling. Phyllo dough that’s flaky and buttery with crunchy pistachios combine perfectly with everything. Baklava is really the best Turkish dessert!

  3. […] 3. Date-Sweetened Baklava by Sweet Simple VeganTraditional baklava contains a shocking amount of liquified butter and honey, but this lightened-up vegan version rivals any Greek grandmother’s recipe. It does take a bit of patience to layer those wonderfully flaky sheets of phyllo dough, but the time is well spent. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea and savor these nutty sugar-free delights. […]

  4. Barbara and Jasmine says:

    Me and my friend made this recipe today, it took several hours of impatience and focus (thirty two sheets of filo pastry are a lot thinner than you think). However, our creation was the epitome of perfection. We have birthed something immeasurable in the culinary world and can only hope that one day other people can experience even a fifth of what it is like to taste this date-sweetened baklava.

    Side note: The recipe fails to let you know when to actually add the vanilla extract to the syrup, we didn’t want to make any mistakes so added it once the syrup was nearly cool and this seemed to work well for us. 🙂

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