A variation on the traditional baklava, this coconut walnut baklava features shredded coconut, toasted walnuts, and orange honey syrup.
This sweet and crunchy treat is perfect for holiday gatherings.
When my husband and I visited Turkey and Greece a few years ago, I ate baklava EVERY DAY of our vacation. I didn’t realize how many variations of baklava existed.
Some were made with pistachio, others had walnuts. We found plenty of the classic diamond shaped ones but also stumbled upon some that were rolled into round cookie forms. There was baklava that smelled of floral rose water and others with the sweet scent of orange blossom.
In this recipe, I’m sharing a version of baklava using my favorite ingredient- coconut!
Coconut Walnut Baklava
Baklava is a sweet dessert layered with phyllo dough and ground nuts. It is rich, decadent, and very satisfying.
As a multi-layered treat, it has a variety of textures that keeps you wanting more and more. Traditional baklava is often made with walnuts or pistachios.
Only a handful of ingredients are needed to make this dessert. This coconut walnut baklava is simple to make, however, it does require a bit of time and patience.
Tips on Working with Phyllo Dough:
Phyllo dough, also spelled filo or fillo dough, is a paper thin unleavened dough. I made phyllo dough from scratch ONCE in culinary school. It was a tedious process. For my sanity, I prefer to simply purchase high-quality store-bought frozen phyllo dough.
Since phyllo dough is super thin, it can dry out very fast. When working with phyllo, make sure it is always covered with a damp kitchen towel. This will ensure the dough remains pliable.
Exposure to too much air will harden the phyllo dough and make it dry and brittle. At this point, the dough will very difficult to work with.
A reader informed me that “baklava” in Turkish translates to “diamond cut.” Slice your baklava into the traditional diamond shape, or cut them into triangles or squares.
Because baklava tends to be very sweet, I like to cut small servings to prevent sugar rush overload!
I really enjoy the combination of unsweetened shredded coconut with the toasted walnuts.
There are many many variations of honey. For this recipe, I prefer orange blossom honey to because it is slightly less sweet than other varieties. Clover honey is also a great option. (I would stay away from the darker hued, very sweet honey.) Orange peel is steeped in the honey syrup mixture to further enhance the citrus notes.
While some sweets (like donuts or cake) are best enjoyed the day their made, this coconut walnut baklava tastes better the following day!
Allow the baklava to completely cool to room temperature. Loosely cover with wax paper. This will allow the exposed phyllo to crisp up and give the nut/coconut filling mixture time to absorb all the flavors from the honey syrup.
Coconut Walnut Baklava
- 16 oz package store-bought phyllo dough (filo) , thawed
- 14 oz walnuts
- 6 oz unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter , melted
Orange Honey Syrup:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup honey*
- 3/4 cup water
- 2-inch orange peel
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread walnuts in an even layer in a baking tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes until fragrant and golden in color. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Place cooled walnuts in a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Add cinnamon and salt. Pulse 10-15 times until walnuts are coarsely ground. Toss with coconut. Set aside. Meanwhile, make honey syrup.
- Orange Honey Syrup: In a heavy bottomed sauce pot, combine sugar, honey, water, and orange peel. Bring to a boil. Cook for 3-5 minutes until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Cut and trim phyllo dough to fit baking dish (or casserole dish). Keep phyllo dough covered with damp kitchen towel during assembly process.
- Grease baking dish with melted butter. Add a sheet of phyllo dough. Brush dough with melted butter. Repeat this until you have used 7 sheets of phyllo.
- Spread 1 cup of nut filling over phyllo dough. Add a sheet of phyllo and brush with melted butter. Repeat this until you have used 5 sheets of phyllo. Spread another cup of nut filling. Repeat adding 5 layers of phyllo.
- Repeat adding 1 cup of nut filling followed with 5 layers of phyllo until you run out of nut filling. Use 7 sheets of phyllo the final top layer of dough.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the baklava into diamond pattern or square shapes. Bake for 50-55 minutes in preheated oven until baklava is golden brown. Immediately pour honey orange syrup over baklava. You should hear a sizzling sound.
- Allow baklava to sit out uncovered at room temperature.
- I used orange blossom honey because it is slightly less sweet.
- I used Bob's Red Mill Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (medium shredded coconut).
- Baklava can be stored at room temperature loosely covered with wax paper for a week.
- For longer storage, keep covered in the fridge for longer storage. However, baklava will lose its crisp and soften.