All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Bakuraba / baklava

This satisfies Tom's new habit of eating sweets without increasing sodium intake. But when I made these baklava earlier last year, he blamed me for him gaining weight, as I repeatedly experimented to figure out a good proportion of ingredients, especially erythritol (calorie- & net-carbs-free sugar substitute) so it does not re-crystallize when completely cool and does not trigger any noticeable cooling sensation in the mouth.

My original thought was, if I made 28 small pieces in one batch, they should last for 28 days or at least a few weeks. Making baklava from scratch is time consuming, but it would be not bad if each batch lasted that long ... So far I have been proven ridiculously wrong. Tom cannot stop reaching for more pieces. Although the recipe below is not heavily sweet, as with other sweets I make, it could be addictive. 

Whole recipe:
2,396 calories; 37.5 g protein; 175.1 g fat; 225.9 g carbohydrate; 165.9 g net carbs; 44 mg sodium; 158 mg cholesterol; 15.3 g fiber

1 piece (1/28 recipe):
86 calories; 1.3 g protein; 6.3 g fat; 8.1 g carbohydrate; 5.9 g net carbs; 1.6 mg sodium; 6 mg cholesterol; 0.5 g fiber

(for 20 cm/8" square mold)

For phyllo dough
130 g all purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp vinegar
65 g milk

(Starch mixture to keep phyllo sheets separated)
50 g potato (or tapioca) starch
10 g all purpose flour

For nut filling and topping, ghee, and syrup
(Nut filling and topping and ghee)
140 g walnuts (for filling)
15 g pistachio (for topping; optional; not in photo)
70 g ghee clarified butter

100 g (100 cc) water
45 g granulated sugar
15 g honey
10 g agave syrup
40 g granulated erythritol
14 drops liquid stevia
1/2 tbsp rose water

Olive oil (to grease mold, not in photo)


Make phyllo dough.
In a bowl, put dry ingredients, add liquid ingredients, and mix with fork or chopsticks.

When roughly incorporated, switch to your hand, and knead until smooth.

Cover, and let sit for 30+ minutes (to overnight in the fridge). 


Meanwhile, prepare syrup.
Grind granulated erythritol to fine powder, and transfer to a small pot.

Pour part of specified amount of (100 cc) water into mortar to get most of erythritol powder, and empty into pot.
Repeat until all water goes into pot.
Add rest of syrup ingredients other than rose water, and bring to boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to very low, and simmer for 12 minutes.
Remove from heat, add rose water, cover, and cool.


Dry roast walnuts until toasty, and chop.


Grease bottom and side walls of mold with olive oil.


In a small bowl, mix potato (or tapioca) starch and all purpose flour (starch mixture to keep phyllo sheets separated).


Divide phyllo dough into 14, and roll into balls.
Each ball is about the size of a golf ball.

 Keep covered.


Sprinkle a generous amount of starch mixture on pastry board and individual balls, and roll them out to A4 or letter-size paper.

Sprinkle starch mixture to ensure individual phyllo sheets stay separated from each other, as necessary.
Work a few to several balls at a time, and keep the rest covered, as their surface tends to dry out easily.


In the meantime, melt ghee in a container by placing in hot water.
Keep warm.

Preheat oven to 370F/185-190C.


When phyllo sheets are ready, brush ghee on each sheet, and sprinkle walnuts.

Place a stick (8"/20 cm glass straw in photo) toward end near you, and roll phyllo to the other end.

Squeeze rolled phyllo from both ends, slide out squeezed roll, and place in mold.
Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets.   


Cut each roll in half.
Brush rolls with remaining ghee.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes so rolls soak up ghee.


Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.


Meanwhile, chop pistachios.

Mix with some syrup.


After removing baklava from oven, wait for 5-10 minutes, and pour over syrup.
Top each baklava piece with some pistachios. 
If some syrup remains, pour over pistachio topping to stabilize nuts.

Let it sit overnight. 

  • Mixing pistachio with some syrup makes it easy to stabilize nuts on each baklava piece.
  • If ghee is not at hand, melt unsalted butter in a small pot, and discard creamy opaque part that appears. The clear part is ghee.
  • Water, instead of milk, works fine, too. If using water, slightly more than 60 cc is a good amount. For me, milk seems to make phyllo dough stretch more easily. Vinegar has the same effect.
  • By grinding to fine powder, erythritol dissolves more easily when making syrup. More erythritol would recrystallize (even when ground to powder) when syrup is completely cooled.
  • The syrup above does not have the distinctive taste of erythritol, stevia, honey or agave syrup, and this was my intention. If a noticeable honey taste is desired, replace agave syrup with honey. (Agave syrup is used above to reduce total net carbs, although only slightly).
  • Rose water is available at Middle Eastern grocery stores or sections. If not available, try (1 tsp) lemon juice. While clearly not as aromatic or fragrant, lemon juice does give a refreshing note.

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