Food & Drink

Benny Blanco’s baklava recipe

If you’ve only ever had shop-bought baklava, it’s time to make your own.

Baklava from Open Wide
Baklava from Open Wide Baklava from Open Wide

“I love pistachios so much,” says songwriter and food enthusiast Benny Blanco.

“Pistachios and the combination of flaky phyllo dough and honey turns me into a sweet sticky boi.”



(Makes 36)

3 cups toasted walnut halves

1 cup pistachios, shelled and roasted, plus ¼ cup finely ground

2tsps ground cinnamon

1¾ cups sugar

Pinch of salt

1 lemon, zested

1tsp vanilla extract

½ cup honey

3 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled

28 sheets phyllo dough

Baklava from Open Wide
Baklava from Open Wide (Johnny Miller/PA)


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts, one cup pistachios, cinnamon, half a cup sugar, and a pinch of salt until finely ground. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the nuts by hand or put them in a ziplock bag and crush them with a pan.

3. In a medium saucepan, combine one cup water, one-and-a-quarter cups sugar, and the zest of one lemon and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and stir until the sugar has dissolved, about two minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and honey until combined. Let cool while the baklava bakes.

4. Brush a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter. Carefully layer seven phyllo sheets into the pan, brushing butter between each layer as you build. Sprinkle a third of the nut mixture over the top. Repeat two more times, then place seven more phyllo sheets on top of the last layer of nut mixture, brushing butter between each layer.

5. Brush the top layer with a lot of butter (half a cup). Cut the baklava lengthwise three times to create four equal strips. Then make diagonal cuts at a 45-degree angle about nine times, to create thirty-six diamond-shaped pieces.

6. Bake until deep golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully pour the syrup over the baklava. Sprinkle with pistachio dust and let cool before serving.

Open Wide: A Cookbook For Friends by Benny Blanco is published by Dey Street Books, priced £25. Photography by Johnny Miller. Available now.