Syrian Cream-Filled Baklava (Baklava Muhalabiyya)

Recipe by UmmBinat
READY IN: 1hr 45mins




  • Make syrup:
  • Place sugar, water, and flower water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring so that the syrup dissolves. Let boil until it is a slightly thick syrup, then set aside and let cool completely.
  • Make filling:
  • Place homogenized milk, sugar, spices, and sea salt in a sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring so that the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the semolina in a slow stream, stirring to combine.
  • Simmer the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened and the semolina is soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool completely before using.
  • Putting it all together:
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Have your melted butter and pastry brush ready. Get two cloths or dish towels, moisten them, then wring them out as much as possible. Unroll your phyllo on your work surface and cover it with plastic wrap then cover with the damp cloths.
  • Brush a 9X13 inch baking dish all over with some of the melted butter.
  • Brush one sheet of phyllo lightly with the butter, then place in the baking dish, letting any extra come up the sides. Repeat, brushing a phyllo sheet with butter and layering it in the baking dish, keeping the remaining phyllo covered, until you’ve used half the phyllo.
  • Evenly put the filling into the dish on the phyllo that was last brushed with butter.
  • Continue brushing phyllo with butter, then layering it on top of the filling, allowing the edges of phyllo to hang over the sides of the pan. When you have layered all but 2 sheets of the phyllo, take all the pieces of phyllo that are hanging over the sides and fold them back into the pan, (some of the edges may be dry, snap them off and discard them), Brush the fold overs with butter. Brush the final 2 sheets of phyllo with butter and place them over the pan, tucking the edges down into the side of the pan. Brush the top with melted butter.
  • Score the top layer of the pie to form diamonds (it looks prettier than squares, but do what you can) then run your knife through the scores again, cutting all the way through to the bottom the pan. Place in the oven and bake until crisp and golden watch at 40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately pour the cool syrup slowly over the baklava. Set aside to absorb for several hours before serving.
  • Helpful Tips:
  • When working with phyllo, it’s important to work quickly to keep the dough from drying out. In order to do so, make sure you have all your ingredients and tools ready, and know what you are going to do. Read through the recipe several times to familiarize yourself with the process, this will help prevent you from constantly stopping to check the recipe, which will slow you down.
  • Never leave phyllo uncovered for more than a minute.
  • Brush each phyllo sheet lightly with butter, beginning at the corners and working inward. You want to brush it with enough butter to prevent dryness, but you don’t want to saturate it so that it’s heavy or soggy.
  • Make sure your syrup is cooled before you use it. Cool syrup + hot phyllo = crispy baklava.