Milky Vanilla Baklava

Milky Vanilla Baklava with Pistachios on top

After making the apple pomegranate boreks I found myself with a lot of leftover phyllo dough. About the only other phyllo dessert I know is baklava, but I didn’t just want to make another honey and nut baklava. I was thinking of other flavours that might compliment the pistachios, almonds and butter. Then it struck me that sweetened condensed milk has a similar viscosity to honey and might go nicely with the nuts and butter. For flavor, I remembered I still had a brick of vanilla beans in the freezer that my friend got me from Madagascar and decided they would go nicely with the milk rather than a more traditional spice like cardamom.

To maximize the vanilla flavour, I added the scraped out beans to the nut mixture and steeped the pods in the sweetened condensed milk to make a vanilla milk syrup.

Baklava with black tea

I won’t even try to make any claim to authenticity here, but I personally enjoyed this more than the traditional baklavas I’ve made in the past. While they’re rich and creamy on their own, these are even better with a cup of hot tea (or even hot water). I’m not sure what it is, but this baklava goes from having a sweet, slightly creamy flavor to being a creamy explosion of milk and vanilla when you eat it with tea.

This got me to thinking, are there other combination i could use? pumkin seeds + allspice + condensed milk… or perhaps pecans + maple syrup… or maybe even walnuts + honey + pomegranate molasses…

Vanilla and Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 package phyllo dough defrosted
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter melted (1/2 C + 2 Tbs)
1 C shelled almonds
2 vanilla beans
1 C shelled pistachios
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1 C sweetened condensed milk

Move the oven rack to the bottom middle position and pre-heat to 300 degrees F.

Add the almonds to a food processor and pulse a few times until they resemble a rough gravel. Slice the vanilla beans down the center and scrape out the “beans”, adding them to the food processor along with the pistachios and sugar (save the pods for later). Continue pulsing another 12-15 times until the nuts are chopped into small pieces.

see tips on handling phyllo dough

To assemble the baklava, brush a generous amount of melted butter onto the bottom and sides of a 9×9 baking pan. Unroll the phyllo dough and cut in half (you should have two 9″x14″ stacks of phyllo). Starting at the edge of the pan closest to you, place a sheet of phyllo at the bottom allowing the extra phyllo to drape over the edge furthest from you. Brush the phyllo with melted butter. Fold the extra 5″ of phyllo hanging off the side furthest from you onto itself. Brush the top of this surface with butter then lay another piece of phyllo down starting from the edge furthest from you (so the overhang is closest to you), butter then fold the overhang over. Repeat 4 more times.

Sprinkle about half of the nut mixture evenly over the phyllo. Layer another 4 sheets of phyllo using technique above (buttering and alternating sides you overlap). Evenly spread the rest of the nut mixture on the phyllo and cover with 6 sheets of phyllo using the technique above. To finish, cut 2 sheets of phyllo to be exactly 9″x9″, butter and layer. Press down gently on the baklava to allow the nuts to settle.

Using a serrated edge steak knife, cut the baklava (all the way through) in a crisscross pattern. Drizzle the remaining butter on top brushing the top to ensure they’re evenly coated. Put it in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until the top is golden brown.

Baklava in the pan

To make the vanilla milk syrup, put the sweetened condensed milk in a small saucepan along with the vanilla pods and heat over low heat until the mixture is warm and bubbly. Use a spatula to try and scrape any remaining vanilla beans out of the pods and into the milk. Turn off the heat and let the pods steep in the milk until the baklava comes out of the oven.

When the baklava is golden brown on top, remove it from the oven and immediately pour the vanilla milk syrup evenly over the cuts in the baklava (discarding the vanilla pods). Allow the baklava to cool completely in the pan. You can serve it as soon as its cooled, but it tastes best the next day.

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com/ Peter

    Marc, the baklava looks great – nice twists to the dessert without straying too far from the classics.

    Condensed milk is a wonderous ingredient…bravo!

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com Peter

    Marc, the baklava looks great – nice twists to the dessert without straying too far from the classics.

    Condensed milk is a wonderous ingredient…bravo!

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com/ [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    The condensed milk is brilliant (as usual, Marc) — and I think I might enjoy these more than the traditional baklavas too.

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    The condensed milk is brilliant (as usual, Marc) — and I think I might enjoy these more than the traditional baklavas too.

  • http://scalloped-edge.blogspot.com/ Joanna

    Oh, I love baklava and anything with sweetened condensed milk, so this would be right up my alley! Have you ever had galaktaboreko? It’s another Greek dessert with phyllo, with sort of a custardy filling, and it’s so, so good. (Also I probably butchered the spelling, in case you try to google it…) Anyway, if you still have any leftover phyllo, maybe that could be your next experiment, and then you could tell me how to make it! ;)

  • http://scalloped-edge.blogspot.com Joanna

    Oh, I love baklava and anything with sweetened condensed milk, so this would be right up my alley! Have you ever had galaktaboreko? It’s another Greek dessert with phyllo, with sort of a custardy filling, and it’s so, so good. (Also I probably butchered the spelling, in case you try to google it…) Anyway, if you still have any leftover phyllo, maybe that could be your next experiment, and then you could tell me how to make it! ;)

  • http://schweetnsavory.blogspot.com/ Melissa

    Hmmm…Vanilla and sweetened condensed milk in baklava? This actually sounds really good! I’ll have to give it a try.

  • http://schweetnsavory.blogspot.com/ Melissa

    Hmmm…Vanilla and sweetened condensed milk in baklava? This actually sounds really good! I’ll have to give it a try.

  • http://www.shelbymaelawstories.blogspot.com/ HoneyB

    Looks delicious and different from what I am used to seeing!

  • http://www.shelbymaelawstories.blogspot.com HoneyB

    Looks delicious and different from what I am used to seeing!

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com/ Heather

    Wow, this totally looks worth the trouble of phyllo.

    What about pine nuts and rose syrup? Too traditional?

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    Wow, this totally looks worth the trouble of phyllo.

    What about pine nuts and rose syrup? Too traditional?

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie @ fig&cherry

    Yum! I wish I had a brick of vanilla pods in my freezer…

  • http://www.figandcherry.com Christie @ fig&cherry

    Yum! I wish I had a brick of vanilla pods in my freezer…

  • http://www.janespice.com/ ursula

    I was just thinking of baklava on my drive home about 30 minutes ago. My mum makes it for us for Christmas. So delicious.

  • http://www.janespice.com ursula

    I was just thinking of baklava on my drive home about 30 minutes ago. My mum makes it for us for Christmas. So delicious.

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    That is FANTASTIC, Marc! (Well, I do love me some condensed milk…) I love this baking run you’ve been on. (how predictable of me!) All the variations you’ve suggested sound incredible, especially the maple one!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    That is FANTASTIC, Marc! (Well, I do love me some condensed milk…) I love this baking run you’ve been on. (how predictable of me!) All the variations you’ve suggested sound incredible, especially the maple one!

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    I think baklava lends itself quite easily to many flavour combinations and ingredients…you’ve easily proved that Marc!

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    I think baklava lends itself quite easily to many flavour combinations and ingredients…you’ve easily proved that Marc!

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com/ Lorraine E

    Mmm I’m definitely liking what I see there. Pastry, pistachios and sweetened condensed milk? They would all be in my top 5 ingredients :P

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com Lorraine E

    Mmm I’m definitely liking what I see there. Pastry, pistachios and sweetened condensed milk? They would all be in my top 5 ingredients :P

  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com/ Darius T. williams

    Mmmmm – looks absolutely great!

  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com/ Darius T. williams

    Mmmmm – looks absolutely great!

  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com Darius T. williams

    Mmmmm – looks absolutely great!

  • http://www.sweetsfoods.com/ Gera

    Hi Marc!

    I always ate baklava since I was a kid but the traditional one but the adding of sweetened condensed milk and vanilla make it to next level. I imagine with a tea and must be delicious! The combo pecans and maple syrup sound very yummy :)

    Gera .:. sweetsfoods

  • http://www.sweetsfoods.com/ Gera

    Hi Marc!

    I always ate baklava since I was a kid but the traditional one but the adding of sweetened condensed milk and vanilla make it to next level. I imagine with a tea and must be delicious! The combo pecans and maple syrup sound very yummy :)

    Gera .:. sweetsfoods

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com/ _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    You had me at “condensed.”

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    You had me at “condensed.”

  • http://chefsgonewild.blogspot.com/ Zenchef

    Very clever ‘twist’ on the Baklava with the condensed milk. It makes a lot of sense. I can almost taste it. Now if you ever have any leftovers or in need of a second opinion (or third) i’m just a quick ‘tweet’ away! haha.

  • http://chefsgonewild.blogspot.com Zenchef

    Very clever ‘twist’ on the Baklava with the condensed milk. It makes a lot of sense. I can almost taste it. Now if you ever have any leftovers or in need of a second opinion (or third) i’m just a quick ‘tweet’ away! haha.

  • http://www.applepiepatispate.com/ Jude

    Gotta love the flakiness of phyllo. There’s nothing else like it.

  • http://www.applepiepatispate.com Jude

    Gotta love the flakiness of phyllo. There’s nothing else like it.

  • http://www.whiskblog.com/ Shari

    I love baklava and your versions sound EVEN better!

  • http://www.whiskblog.com/ Shari

    I love baklava and your versions sound EVEN better!

  • http://pixieate.blogspot.com/ pixen

    I love baklava but your version is less syrupy than original. I definitely must try this… Thank you for the recipe!

    Happy Holidays!

  • http://pixieate.blogspot.com pixen

    I love baklava but your version is less syrupy than original. I definitely must try this… Thank you for the recipe!

    Happy Holidays!

  • http://www.justgetfloury.com/ Ginny

    looks great! so delicious! :)

  • http://www.justgetfloury.com Ginny

    looks great! so delicious! :)

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    I really like the sound of this version of baklava!

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    I really like the sound of this version of baklava!

  • http://www.knucklesandwich.co.nz/ Paul

    Hi there.
    Great looking Baklava!
    (Also, I love your WP theme. Did you build it yourself or is it based on a pre built theme? If so could I have a link please.)

    Cheers.

    P.

  • http://www.knucklesandwich.co.nz Paul

    Hi there.
    Great looking Baklava!
    (Also, I love your WP theme. Did you build it yourself or is it based on a pre built theme? If so could I have a link please.)

    Cheers.

    P.

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com/ Syrie

    Wow, looks and sounds fantastic. My mouth is watering as I’m reading. Best of luck in the new year Marc!

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com Syrie

    Wow, looks and sounds fantastic. My mouth is watering as I’m reading. Best of luck in the new year Marc!

  • marc

    Thanks Peter, although they may have been even better if I’d dipped them in chocolate;-)

    Thanks JS, they’re still pretty sweet, but it’s the creaminess adds a new dimension.

    Joanna, I’ve never had it, but it sounds amazing. I’ll have to find a nice Greek bakery around here so I can give it a try.

    Thanks Melissa, tell us how it goes if you do give it a try.

    HoneyB, I tried to change things up a bit, that’s the fun part of cooking for me:-)

    Heather, ooOOO I like the sound of that although with 2 C of nuts, that would be some pricey baklava.

    Christie, make friends with a CNN cameraman:-)

    Ursula, I never really thought of it as a holiday dessert, but now that you mention it it does seem fitting!

    Mark, thanks! I’m a little baklavaed out, but come the new year I may give one of the other combos a go.

    Thanks Peter G:-)

    Lorraine, mine too:-)

    Thanks Darius

    Gera, thanks! It sounds like a recipe for the pecan maple version will be next up for me:-)

    TS :-)

    Zenchef, where exactly are you anyhow? We should meet up sometime.

    Jude, it’s amazing how thin they’re able to make it. It always makes me wonder how they made it before there were machines to do it.

    Thanks Shari!

    Pixen, let us know how it goes if you end up trying it:-)

    Thanks Ginny and Kevin!

    Paul thanks. I started with a basic 3 column theme for structure, but I reworked all the styles and visuals.

    Thanks Syrie, you too. Have a great holiday!

  • marc

    Thanks Peter, although they may have been even better if I’d dipped them in chocolate;-)

    Thanks JS, they’re still pretty sweet, but it’s the creaminess adds a new dimension.

    Joanna, I’ve never had it, but it sounds amazing. I’ll have to find a nice Greek bakery around here so I can give it a try.

    Thanks Melissa, tell us how it goes if you do give it a try.

    HoneyB, I tried to change things up a bit, that’s the fun part of cooking for me:-)

    Heather, ooOOO I like the sound of that although with 2 C of nuts, that would be some pricey baklava.

    Christie, make friends with a CNN cameraman:-)

    Ursula, I never really thought of it as a holiday dessert, but now that you mention it it does seem fitting!

    Mark, thanks! I’m a little baklavaed out, but come the new year I may give one of the other combos a go.

    Thanks Peter G:-)

    Lorraine, mine too:-)

    Thanks Darius

    Gera, thanks! It sounds like a recipe for the pecan maple version will be next up for me:-)

    TS :-)

    Zenchef, where exactly are you anyhow? We should meet up sometime.

    Jude, it’s amazing how thin they’re able to make it. It always makes me wonder how they made it before there were machines to do it.

    Thanks Shari!

    Pixen, let us know how it goes if you end up trying it:-)

    Thanks Ginny and Kevin!

    Paul thanks. I started with a basic 3 column theme for structure, but I reworked all the styles and visuals.

    Thanks Syrie, you too. Have a great holiday!

  • http://colloquialcookin.canalblog.com/ colloquial cook

    Wait… Did you just manage to use the words “pomegranate molasses” in a post on baklava? Marc, you evil genius!

  • http://colloquialcookin.canalblog.com/ colloquial cook

    Wait… Did you just manage to use the words “pomegranate molasses” in a post on baklava? Marc, you evil genius!

  • http://blog.keyingredient.com/ Sophie

    Baklava is one of my favorite desserts, this was beautifully executed! The vanilla milk syrup sounds like the cherry on top.

  • http://blog.keyingredient.com/ Sophie

    Baklava is one of my favorite desserts, this was beautifully executed! The vanilla milk syrup sounds like the cherry on top.

  • Stephen Shimmans

    I have never really thought about trying to make something like this, but this recipe seems quite straight forward, you have an easily readable and very informative blog. I can only hope to be as succinct one day. 

    Thanks for this recipe, I’m going to give it a try.

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