Date-Sweetened Baklava (vegan)
A vegan and refined sugar-free baklava that is sweetened with dates and will definitely hit the spot. Sweet, flaky, and melt in your mouth good. Need we say more?
Who is ready for some sweetness? Today we are baking up some baklava! For some reason, growing up, I thought baklava was fish ???? but I couldn’t be more wrong. Thankfully so, because this sweet treat has quickly become one of my favorite desserts.
Traditionally, Baklava isn’t vegan because it’s made with honey, but today we are veganizing it with a little help from our friends at Just Date Syrup. Just Date Syrup is a sugar alternative that just so happens to work perfectly as the liquid sweetener in baklava, score! It’s loaded with potassium, antioxidants, and has a low glycemic index so it won’t spike your blood sugar! It can also be used for any other baking needs as well as in your coffee, tea, etc. With the date syrup, we were able to make this baklava refined sugar free and a better alternative to the traditional recipe.
Date-Sweetened Baklava (Vegan)
- Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 27 pieces
- 1 1/2 cups (11.87oz) pitted medjool dates, finely chopped*
- 1 cup (5.4 oz) almonds*
- 1 cup (4 oz) walnuts*
- 1 cup (4.12 oz) pistachios*
- 1/2 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick vegan butter, melted
- 32 sheets phyllo (filo) dough, defrosted
- 1/2 cup Just Date Syrup
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, adjust to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons shelled unsalted pistachios, finely chopped or crushed
- In a food processor, add in the dates, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse until the mixture is just roughly chopped. You do not want them to be fine as they will not have the right consistency for the baklava. Set aside.
- Grab your phyllo dough and a medium baking dish (ours was 10×8″).
- Placed it on a clean work surface and then put a baking dish on top. Be sure not to press down so hard so you don’t compact the phyllo. Using a sharp knife, trim the phyllo to the size of the pan. It is better to cut bigger than smaller here so if it is not perfect, don’t worry because once it bakes you won’t be able to tell. This step is optional, you can also just fold in the edges as you layer the baklava. This will just yield the best results.
- Cover the phyllo with a slightly damp tea towel to keep it from drying out. Set aside.
- Brush the bottom and sides of the baking dish with a thin layer of melted vegan butter. Lay on two sheets of the phyllo and then gently drizzle it with vegan butter. We did not brush on the vegan butter as it may rip the phyllo. Repeat the layering, buttering ever 2 sheets of phyllo, until you have a base of 8 sheets of phyllo.
- Add 1/3 of the ground nut mixture to the pan and spread it out evenly to the edges of the pan. If possible, try to avoid having large date pieces on the outer edge as they tend to burn easily.
- Lay on 8 more sheets of phyllo, buttering them every two layers, and then add on another 1/3 of ground nut mixture. Repeat one more time.
- Add on the final 8 sheets of phyllo, drizzling them with butter every two layers. Evenly drizzle any remaining melted vegan butter over the top.
- Place the baking dish into the refrigerator for 1 hour so that the butter can set.
- Remove the pan from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a very sharp knife, cut the uncooked baklava four times lengthwise (into long rectangles). Then, cut across diagonally to create diamond shapes. You can do as many diagonal cuts as you would like, depending on how big or small you want your baklava pieces to be when cooked.
- Bake the baklava for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown and the edges of the phyllo is flaky.
- While the baklava bakes, prepare the syrup. Combine all of the syrup ingredients except for the vanilla extract in a small pot over medium heat. Warm the syrup for around 8-10 minutes, or until it has thickened but is still the consistency of syrup. Set it aside to cool. Once cooled, mix the vanilla in.
- Remove the baklava from the oven and set it on a heat-proof surface. Drizzle the cooled syrup evenly over the baked baklava while it is still hot (this is key!).
- Top the baklava with crushed pistachios and allow it to sit at room temperature for several hours or overnight before serving.