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Texture is everything.

© 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Baklava is incredibly easy to make, but still so impressive! This variation is healthier than ones that use butter, but it's still every bit as delicious.

Although the majority of commercial phyllo doughs that I come across are dairy-free, some use dairy-derived preservatives or are made in a facility that also processes dairy, so, when selecting your phyllo dough, label-reading is a must!

Makes about 24 pieces

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes


  • 16 ounces chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 T. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free soy margarine, melted
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 16-oz package dairy-free phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 T. agave nectar


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.

2. In a small bowl, combine the chopped nuts, cinnamon and dark brown sugar. In another small bowl, mix together the melted soy margarine and olive oil. Set aside.

3. Unroll the thawed phyllo dough, and cut the stack to fit the pan. Place 2 sheets in the prepared pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the sheets with the margarine-oil mixture. Add two more sheets, followed by another brushing of the margarine-oil mixture. Repeat two more times. After there are eight phyllo sheets layered (4 layers of 2 sheets each), sprinkle about 3 T. of the nut-sugar mixture on top. Add two more sheets, brush with the margarine-oil mixture, sprinkle with the nut mixture, and continue until all of the phyllo sheets are used.

4.Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava into square or diamond shapes, making sure you cut all the way to the bottom of the pan. (If you do not do this, you will not be able to cut your baklava into even pieces, as it will crumble, or tear if you cut it after baking.) Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until baklava is golden and crisp.

5. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Mix the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Add the agave nectar, stirring well to combine, and simmer until syrupy, about 15 minutes.

6. Remove the baklava from the oven. Spoon the sauce over the baklava immediately and let cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Store baklava uncovered or lightly covered. Baklava will keep for several days at room temperature.

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