baklava on a plate

Make Mother’s Day with this sweet nutty baklava

If you’re in the UK (or your mother is!) you should know that this Sunday (31st March) is Mothering Sunday.

When I was growing up, my little sister and I would always pick Mum a bunch of flowers from the garden, and put it in a glass on the kitchen table. I’m sure we used to buy cards too (or maybe we made them?) and we would always make a cake! Now, being on your own without a houseful of kids, a cake probably isn’t the best idea, but this… well, this can be divided and portioned without looking like you’ve given half of it to someone else! Of course, we’re not giving it to anyone else, we’re saving it for ourselves, although as we’re taking Mum out for a carvery lunch complete with dessert table, I think this will have to wait until Monday (or not ๐Ÿ˜› !)

Baklava is traditionally a very sweet dessert made with honey, nuts and filo pastry. It is sweet, syrupy and nutty, but still has a bit of bite from the crispy baked pastry layers.

This version is a slightly lighter version, but still oh so tasty! I have made a coconut sugar syrup instead of using honey, and I have limited the amount so the pastry stays a bit crunchier than usual. I’m not going to tell you how much I ate before I’d even taken it out of the pan! ๐Ÿ˜› Oh my this is so good! ๐Ÿ˜€

If you’ve ever been somewhere that they make baklava (think Eastern countries such as Turkey, Greece, Iran), likely you will have seen giant circular trays of this cut into diamond shapes and served with coffee. Of course, as with anything nowadays there are so many variants, different nuts, different pastries, different layering techniques, different infusions (think rose scented syrups) and different spices (such as cardamom) to name a few! Then of course there is the argument of where did it actually originate from!?!?!

Anyway, this Life Diet Health version is light, nutty, slightly spiced and not so sweet that you can’t eat more than one piece! Perfect!

If you’re celebrating Mothers Day, have a wonderful day! ? If you’re not celebrating… well, still have a wonderful day and know that someone somewhere is thinking of you! ?

5 from 2 votes
baklava on a plate

Layers of paper thin pastry sandwiched with sweet sticky spiced nuts, covered in a light syrup and sprinkled with more nuts.

Created by:: Laurena @LifeDietHealth
  • 40 g butter melted (we used Vitalite)
  • 90 g filo pastry sheets (any shape will do) divided into two
  • 50 g nuts roughly chopped (we used pecans)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • small pinch salt
  • 40 g coconut sugar
  • 35 ml water
  • 1 small dash vanilla extract
  • small pinch cinnamon
  • tiny pinch cardamom (1 seed crushed will work)
  • extra nuts for topping (grated or finely chopped)
  1. Lightly brush the bottom and sides of a baking tin (we used 18cm x 18cm square tin).

  2. Brush one piece of filo with butter and place it brushed side down in the tin. Brush the top, then repeat with more filo. Use half of the filo at this stage and completely cover the base. Use any shape pieces to fit, just ensure it is roughly even and all pieces are brushed top and bottom.

  3. Mix the chopped nuts with the maple syrup and a pinch of salt, then spread over the pastry layers.

  4. Now add the remaining pastry in layers as before (brushing with butter on both sides). Try and make the top layer a whole piece of pastry just to make it look nice! Pour any remaining butter over the top.

  5. Get a sharp knife and cut the baklava all the way through either in squares or diamonds. 

  6. Bake at Gas Mark 4 (350f / 180c) for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to Gas Mark 2 (300f / 150c) and bake for a further 45 minutes. The top should be a golden brown.

  7. About 10 minutes before the baklava finishes cooking, put the sugar in a pan with the vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom. Cook on a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is thick and syrupy. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

  8. Pour the hot syrup over the baklava when it comes out of the oven, ensuring that you pour it into the gaps as well as over the top.

  9. Sprinkle or grate chopped nuts over the top. Allow to cool (if you can wait) before removing from the tin! Enjoy!

Tips & Storage
  • Use your favourite nuts, or use a mixture. We used pecans, but walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios work really well too.
  • If you eat honey, feel free to use that instead of the maple syrup (or agave), but note that the taste will be slightly different.
  • You can use plain white granulated sugar for the syrup if you prefer – again, this will give a different taste.
  • If you want a sweeter, stickier baklava, double the amount of syrup used.
  • You can omit the spices, but this gives a lovely flavour to the finished baklava.
  • If you use rose water/rose essence, you can use a dash of that instead of the vanilla.
  • It is fine to store this uncovered, but I would suggest if you do that you put it in the fridge.
  • Stores for several days (although not in my house)! The more syrup you use, the longer this will last. Note the taste will change after about a week.

So, of course I am taking this over to Fiesta Friday – although I know some will be confused about Mothers Day being this week (not in May)! Just as I was confused, when the clocks (in the USA) changed a few weeks back! ๐Ÿ˜› Our clocks are also changing this weekend- on Mothers Day no less, so us poor Mums get an hours less sleep to start our days with! Oh well… it must mean that Spring is truly here now! ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyway, this week the Fiesta is co-hosted by Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrauย andย Ai @ Ai Made It For You you really should come over (if you haven’t come from there) as it’s a great place to find new recipes, get inspiration and ideas and make a load of friends! ๐Ÿ˜€

One more thing!!! This weekend is Earth Hour! Please try and switch off at least the lights for an hour! Read more about it here!

We usually turn off all the lights in the house and light a few (soy) candles. Hopefully this year we will have made dinner by then as I would not recommend trying to cook in the dark!!!

Penguins Earth Hour

As always, if you are making this baklava (or any of our other recipes), please post your photos using #LifeDietHealth or @LifeDietHealth so we can see your creations!ย ย We love to see your interpretations of our recipes!

Here’s a few products you might need for the baklava. If you purchase from by clicking one of these links, we will receive a small commission (at no cost to you), which goes towards the running of the site (and all the reicpe testing)! Thank you for your support!

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Speak soon, Have a great weekend!

Laurena x


  • Rita 29th March 2019 at 19:27


    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 29th March 2019 at 22:24

      Thanks Rita ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Eva 29th March 2019 at 23:33

    Mmm, you had me at crispy pastry layers and rose-scented syrup?I remember being impressed by Waitrose’s selection of baklava from their bakery, in a Kentish village of all places. Enjoy your lunch out with your Mum and I’ll try to remember not to charge my devices so much over this weekend lol (I’m not a big fan of artificial light anyway, I only use it when I have to)?

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 30th March 2019 at 08:32

      You were checking this late at night? Breakfast time now and reading this has got me wondering if I can eat it for breakfast! ๐Ÿ˜€ Maybe I need to make another batch for Mum! ๐Ÿ˜› Oh yes, unplugging everything is a great idea… and I wish we had enough natural light here – I need more big windows! I hope you have a great weekend, any plans?

      • Eva Gallon 30th March 2019 at 08:49

        Hehe, busted: I was initially going to say it made me hungry despite coming back from a heavy meal late last night (part of a riveting tennis meeting hubby wanted me to attend so I could translate a bit lol)- it started at 7pm and ended at 11! It was nice chatting to people, despite it being mostly about the B word?Usual Saturday bits and bobs today, including a trip to the recycling skip place- exciting stuff! Oh, natural light is sooo important: I worked in an office for two long years where the tiny window in my area had been covered up and the rest of the office had massive windows! Sitting in a room all day with artificial lighting is actually a form of torture, I read somewhere! Sorry for the rantโ˜บ Have a lovely weekend x

        • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 1st April 2019 at 18:10

          A four hour tennis meeting!? Recycling skip place sounds cool though – is it like here? Nooo, can’t do no windows! I once had a flat with no window in the bathroom and I ended up leaving the door open most of the time (unless I had guests)! Hope you had a great Sunday too!

          • Eva 1st April 2019 at 20:40

            This is the first time in 7 years since we left the UK that we’ve had a window in the bathroom, I’m easily pleased?
            I must admit, I never really went to a recycling centre back home so I can’t really compare- I just left it all to Tunbridge Wells council lol. Hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day and have a good weekโ˜บ

          • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 1st April 2019 at 20:54

            Gosh! I need my window! ๐Ÿ˜› Oh, we’re always taking stuff to the recycling centre – although I’m a bit cross that we now get charged a ‘fixed price per bag’ of rubble whether its 1kg or 25kg! Our centre has a shop too where you can pick up some great stuff! Mothers Day was lovely thank you – I was ‘made’ to stay in bed for ages though (clocks went forward so that’s my excuse)… playing games on phones! Lol! Check out my instagram (link on front page of website) to see what I got! ๐Ÿ™‚ Speak soon x

      • Eva 1st April 2019 at 22:17

        Chocolate and bed rest- is there anything more perfect??? You deserve itโ˜บ

        • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 1st April 2019 at 22:39

          ๐Ÿ˜€ awww, thanks Eva xxx

  • Ai | Ai made it for you 30th March 2019 at 06:47

    Looks delicious Laurena! I love baklava, but I do find it much too sweet so your version sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 30th March 2019 at 08:35

      Thanks Ai, I don’t usually do too sweet either but this is just delicious (even without the syrup on)! Thanks for co-hosting! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • The Girl Next Door 1st April 2019 at 07:28

    I’m a big fan of baklava, ever since the husband visited Istanbul on work and brought me back a box of these lovelies! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I love how you have tried to make them a little healthier and cruchier than is the norm. Wonderful recipe!

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 1st April 2019 at 18:20

      Thank you! Ahhh I love Istanbul! Have you been or just hubby? So much choice of baklava there, but all very sweet and sticky! This one is definitely a bit healthier but still delicious!

  • frugal hausfrau 1st April 2019 at 23:11

    A little less sweet, I think! That means I can eat more!! You made me laugh when you said, of course you weren’t giving it away, lol!! Happy Fiesta Friday!

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 1st April 2019 at 23:17

      Thanks Mollie! I’ll have my cake and eat it lol! ๐Ÿ˜› All the more for me and all that! ๐Ÿ˜€ Yes indeed you can eat more as it is less sweet! Well, why not just eat the whole lot! ๐Ÿ˜› Thanks for co-hosting (again)! x

  • Five simple ideas for mothers day gifts she'll love โญ Life Diet Health 24th March 2022 at 13:00

    […] Baklava: Sweet, Sticky, Nutty […]


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