Orange Cardamom Baklava

This is an orange, lemon, cardamom and honey scented baklava. I also use butter and olive oil to brush in between the filo (fee-low not fy-low!) layers.

You can use all almonds or pistachios however, I prefer half and half.

You will need:

  • 1 box of frozen filo/phyllo dough- thawed in the fridge.

Nut filling

  • 1 lb/454 grams of nuts (pistachios and almonds)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground cardamom (I use a mortar and pestle)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter -melted
  • 1/4 cup buttery mild olive oil


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract (optional if you can’t find it)
  • 1 tbsp orange finely zested
  • 1 tsp lemon finely zested
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup orange juice (or the juice from a big fat orange)
  • glass pyrex dish wide enough to fill a sheet of phyllo/filo width -3 qt size or 9×13 -glass is easier to cut on

Step 1: in a food processor pulse almonds and pistachios until rough chop- you don’t want to take it too far or it will turn to a nut paste. There can be some larger chunks. If you have a scale weigh the nuts before putting in the food processor.

Step 2: Put the nuts in a large bowl and add, sugar, cinnamon, crushed cardamom. I use the cardamom that is whole in the pod and then remove seeds and crush in the mortar and pestle. You can also buy it ground. Mix to distribute.

Step 3: some boxes have a perfect 24 sheets which can make 3 layers of 8 buttered sheets in between 2 layers of nuts. If your box has more divide into whatever works and if a few get torn no problem – no one will know! I thaw in the fridge over night.

Step 4: butter the glass dish.

Step 5: melt the butter and mix in the olive oil. Get a brush to paint on the butter and oil gently between each layer or filo/phyllo.

Step 6: with a gentle hand paint a light coating on a sheet of filo and then add the next sheet and repeat until you have 8-10 buttered sheets (depending on how many sheets come in your box some have 24 sheets some have 40)

Step 7: if you are doing 2 layers of nuts in between 3 x 8 sheets of buttered filo then divide the nut mixture in half- if you want 3 layers then divide nuts into 3 equal portions. Sprinkle on top and spread evenly.

Step 8: brush another 8 sheets buttered to form the next layer, then add your nuts  and finish with another 8-10 sheets for the top. Make sure the top has a generous coating of butter to finish.

Step 9: carefully with a sharp serrated knife cut all the way through to cut squares or diamond shapes. If your dish has rounded edges you can carefully trim your filo to make it neat in appearance.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30- 35 minutes until browned.

Step 10: while the Baklava is baking make your orange/lemon syrup in a small pan. Add the sugar (mine is Vanilla sugar- I just stick vanilla beans in sugar and leave them for months and keep adding sugar) add honey, orange extract or Fiori Sicilia, orange zest, lemon zest, orange juice and water. Heat to melt sugar and set aside.

Step 11: as soon as you remove the baklava from the oven carefully pour the syrup to cover the entire surface. It will make noise because its hot but that’s ok. Make sure to drizzle the syrup all over the entire top. You will think that it is too much liquid but it is not.

Re-cut the separations one more time while warm.

Let cool, dig in!!

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