Lebanese Almond Baklawa Fingers Recipe
These Lebanese almond baklawa fingers are delicate, crisp, and fun to make. They’re flavored with aromatic orange blossom syrup.
One of the great things about all of the baking and exchanging of cookies this time of year is finding out about what is treasured enough to get baked up in other people’s kitchens every Christmas.
We’ve always loved Ellen Fata’s Italian glazed anise cookies, Fran Casper’s sour cream cinnamon cakes, Aunt Sheila’s fudge. I don’t mind asking for recipes (big surprise) and only rarely have been turned down. Oh yes, some are protective of those homemade gifts, saying what then can I give you if you go and make them yourself? A generous refusal!
So: I would so love to know about what’s baking in your kitchen for Christmas this coming week. Probably you’ve done plenty already and are wrapping it up by now. I’m just getting started over here, and as usual my to-bake list is longer than the time available to bake them.
That’s okay though; I’ll get rolling and keep rolling—especially these beautiful riffs on our baklawa.
Traditionally made in Lebanese home kitchens with walnuts (and walnuts only), I’ve always wanted to try almond baklawa in the form of thin, crisp little fingers of the sort sold by the commercial bakeries in Detroit.
Those are good, but I’ve suspected those bakeries use oil/not butter, and so suspected they could be truly excellent, made small-batch at home. This being a year for doing things I’ve always wanted to do (like this and this), I figure it’s high time for the almond baklawa to make its showing.
These pastries are so perfect, so buttery orange-blossom heavenly, that I’d consider generously refusing to share the recipe with you just so I could gift you a plate each year, and they’d be my own sort of hallmark gift that I suspect you’d be waiting by the front door to receive. But since that’s sadly probably not going to work out, I’ll go ahead and share the recipe, in hopes that you might take a minute to share one of your favorites–at least just the title!–with me (and all of us here!) too.
Happy baking, gifting…and eating!
Almond Baklawa Fingers
For the syrup
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
For the pastry
- 1 1/2 cups blanched almonds, toasted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 pound package phyllo dough (9 x 14-inch), room temperature
- 3/4 cup clarified butter, melted
- Make the syrup at least two hours in advance: in a small heavy saucepan, bring the sugar, water, and lemon juice to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the orange blossom water. Transfer the syrup to a heatproof container and place it in the refrigerator to chill.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Grind the almonds in a grinder or food processor until they resemble coarse crumbs, taking care not to make them too fine. In a small bowl, combine the ground almonds with the sugar.
- Set up your workstation with the melted clarified butter, pastry brush, and 13x9x2-inch pan. Note that you can use a larger or smaller pan as long as one side is at least 9 inches. Brush the bottom of the pan generously with clarified butter. Open one of the sleeves of phyllo dough and lay the phyllo flat on top of the plastic it’s wrapped in. Cover the phyllo with a very slightly dampened clean kitchen towel immediately, to keep it from drying out.
- Pull back the towel and carefully pull one sheet of phyllo off the top of the stack and place the short side facing you on the work surface. Recover the phyllo stack with the towel. Brush the phyllo with the clarified butter, first buttering the edges of the phyllo and then the rest of the sheet. Repeat this with another sheet of phyllo. Spoon a narrow line of almonds along the 9-inch/short side of the phyllo in front of you, leaving an inch of space along the 9-inch edge and about ½ inch of space on the side edges.
- Along the 9-inch edge, carefully lift the phyllo up over the nuts, and roll the nuts up in the phyllo in a tight, compact log. Place the log, seam-side down, into the prepared pan across the 9-inch width. Brush the log generously with clarified butter.
- Repeat this process, buttering two layers of phyllo and rolling up the nuts into logs, until all of the phyllo in the stack is used. Feel free to open the other package of phyllo and continue making more, but the 13x9x2-inch pan won’t hold all of the logs. In that case, use an additional pan for any overflow. It’s also fine that the logs don’t fill the pan entirely. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the logs into 3-inch fingers (make two cuts evenly spaced apart lengthwise across the pan).
- Bake the baklawa for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and fragrant. Remove it from the oven and immediately pour the cold syrup evenly over the hot pastry, making the all-important sizzling sound that means everything is working out perfectly.
- Cool the baklawa for at least two hours. Garnish them by spooning a bit of the ground almonds down the center of each row of fingers while they’re still in the pan, and serve. Store the baklawa in the pan until you’re ready to serve them, lightly covered with a sheet of wax paper.
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I'm so glad you're here! You'll find among these pages the fresh and classic Lebanese recipes we can't get enough of! My mission is to share my tried + true recipes -- and to help our Lebanese food-loving community keep these culinary traditions alive and on the table. What recipes are you looking for? Let me know!
Maureen, these look amazing! I was laying in bed considering making Baklewah for the boys when they come home for Christmas, but now I am tempted to try these! I’ll follow up if I do make them. THANK you for sharing! Although, I really would have loved a plate made by you at my door. 😉 God bless you and yours through this Christmas season! ♡
I love your blog!! I’ve made the almond Baklawa fingers for years as my son is allergic to walnuts. Everyone loves them better than with walnuts so was pleased to read your blog this morning. I don’t spoon the ground almonds down the centre so will definitely try that as it looks beautiful – thanks. My favourite christmas cookie is the samboosic that my grandma used to make. They are a lebanese cookie filled with almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon. You’re probably familiar with them. Have a wonderful Christmas and all the very best to you in 2015! Linda
Thank you Linda, and to you! The samboosic sound delicious!
Hi Maureen./ I just finished making my mother in law’s baqlawa from Madelain Farah’s Lebanee Cuisine. I told my husband this is the best batch ever. I hope to try your version the next round. I have lots of blanched almonds left from my other baking.
I can’t wait for your book. Amy Lucas told me about your website and I enjoy your recipes. You would be surprised of all the Scandanavians up here on the North Shore of Lake Superior wait eagerly for the drop off of baqlawa at Christmas.
How great Suzan, and what a special woman Amy is! Thanks for taking time to write. Lucky friends of yours, gifted with your baklawa!
For both of the family holiday events we’re attending this season, the answer to the ‘please tell us what we can bring for the table’ request has been ‘cookies’. The daughter who grew up helping her daddy in the kitchen will be home from college tomorrow. So I now know what our committee project is going to be. I also plan to try one batch with what my local Lebanese market calls ‘flower ghee’. I’ve got a quart of home made on standby in case the results are less than stellar. I also plan to add some ground, unsalted pistachios into a batch. Will let you know how they turn out!
Wonderful, please do and enjoy!
I think I’ll try these. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. Your Lebanese recipes are amazing and remind me of both of my Sitis. Thank you for sharing! Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas Mary–thanks so much for your kind words!
Just wondering why you didn’t use honey instead of sugar in the syrup?
Hi Roger–honey is a classic Greek flavoring for baklawa, not typical for Lebanese but delicious!
I was definitely a bit afraid to try this but it turned out great!
That’s great Mahee!
hello maureen !
love this recipe , i definitely have to give it a try . i was checking your instagram account and i saw this particular photo that got my attention . it looks like a brioche that you made for christmas . can i get the recipe please ? here’s the link
have a great year ahead .
This looks amazing!what an amazing and inspiring blog.This desert is my next adventure to try:)hope my blog looks this good one day.
I LOVE baklava 🙂 I tried to make it by myself a few times but it wasn’t as good as yours.
OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD! These are my favorite! I don’t even know if I can even attempt this, but I’m willing to give it a try. Thank you!
Go for it Lisa! You can do it and it will be so delicious!!
does any one remember or bake the walnut stuffed shredded wheat dripping with sweet syrup?…mmm…mmm
THANK YOU so much Maureen for sharing your amazing recipe!
Here is a pic of mine, https://maycheangdesigns.blogspot.com.au/2017/05/lebanese-almond-baklawa-fingers.html
I borrowed this idea from a local bakery (shhh…). Fold about an inch of phyllo along one edge & place a narrow dowel or chopstick on the fold to make rolling easier. For a pretty scrunched look, before removing from the dowel, push the ends toward the center. Trim the ends before placing in pan. The bakery flavors its syrup with lavender & other herbs or spices. But, I’m a purist so it’s rose or orange water only.
Your recipe is awesome. First try this and I already in love with it.
Wonderful Martin, thank you!
Thank you so very much, incredibly grateful to have your recipe posted. Happy Holidays.
Hello Maureen: This recipe looks so tempting. I have a question – in the recipe you list blanched almond, but the photo is of almonds with skin. Is it ok to use toasted almonds with skin?
Hi Ammini–those are actually blanched almonds in the photo!! I just take them really far in toasting them, so they are deep golden brown, dark as a skin would be I suppose! I don’t think there is any issue with using almonds with skins on for this, though. Delicious!
I love Baklawa Fingers and will use this recipe to prepare it for my wife and kids. I am very grateful for sharing this great recipe. Thank you Maureen and I wish a Healthy, Happy and prosperous New Year.
Blessings Rachid, thank you!
Hi Maureen, do you have a video for the recipe? I need a visual please.
I have videos on Instagram and YouTube for baklawa diamonds but not the fingers! I’ll put that on my list, thank you Joseline, would be helpful to see for sure.