Baklava, Bourma Baklava, and Kadayef

December 19, 2009 (Last Updated: February 25, 2020)
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These three varieties of baklava pastries are all worth making with the following easy-to-follow recipes. We’ll check out traditional baklava, bourma baklava (sari bourma or rolled baklava), and kadayef (kadayif).

Tray of assorted baklava and bourma baklava pastries served in paper cupcake liners

At Christmastime, my Armenian relatives make tons of baklava assortments to gift to co-workers, friends, neighbors, etc. It’s a time consuming process, which is why they usually wait until the holiday season to make the extra effort. There are three varieties of pastries we will be learning about today.

Tray of assorted baklava and bourma baklava pastries served in paper cupcake liners

Variations of baklava

Traditional baklava is a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean classic dessert. It features flaky, buttery layers of phyllo dough, a filling of cinnamon-spiced walnuts, and sweet clove-infused simple syrup. It is the version of baklava that most people are familiar with. The Greeks often get credit for the recipe, but it’s prevalent throughout Middle Eastern cultures as well.

Two pieces of baklava on a red plate

Bourma Baklava, or Sari Bourma, is a rolled variation of baklava featuring the same beloved flavors and ingredients. The word “sari” means “rolled” in Turkish, so the name describes the pastry quite well once you understand its meaning. Believe it or not, Bourma Baklava is my favorite. I also find it to be easier to assemble than the layered traditional version.

Bourma baklava, a rolled variation of baklava

Kadayef (or kadayif) is a pastry using shredded phyllo dough instead of phyllo sheets. This version has a creamy ricotta cheese filling, and clove-infused simple syrup.

A piece of kadayef pastry on a red plate

I would put these treats in that same order for level of difficulty. The Baklava is definitely the most complex to make, followed by the Bourma Baklava, and finally the Kadayef which is incredibly easy! They all share basic components in common, whether in the form of phyllo dough sheets or shredded phyllo (kadayef), and either a nut/cinnamon/sugar filling, or simply whipped ricotta. The syrups are basically identical.

A tray of kadayef pastries cut into squares

Other recipes you may like

I love all three variations. They may be a lot of work to make all in one sitting, but with the help of an extra pair of hands, or spacing them out over more than one day of baking will definitely simplify this tedious process. Hope you all enjoy!

Two pieces of baklava on a red plate

Baklava

Victoria
Baklava is a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean classic dessert featuring flaky, buttery layers of phyllo dough, a filling of cinnamon-spiced walnuts, and sweet clove-infused syrup.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Armenian, Greek, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 5 dozen
Calories 107 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 (1 pound) packages phyllo dough (approximately 14-by-18-inch)
  • 12 ounces 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted and clarified

Filling:

  • 8 ounces finely chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Syrup:

  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 10 whole cloves

Instructions
 

  • Grease a half sheet pan (12-by-17-inches) and set aside. Prepare the filling by mixing together the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Open one package of phyllo dough and lay it out on the table covered with a cloth when not using it. Place two sheets in the bottom of the pan and fold over the excess. Lightly brush/blot with melted clarified butter. Add another two sheets, this time folding the excess on the opposite side. Again, blot with butter and continue like this until the entire pound of dough has been arranged in the pan.
  • Spread the filling evenly over the dough. Open the second package of phyllo and continue as above, brushing every two sheets with butter, until you reach the last 5 or so layers, and then brush between each layer. For the last couple of sheets of phyllo, fold the overhang underneath so it is invisible from the surface.
  • Cut diamonds with a very sharp knife by cutting lengthwise into eighths, and then start at one corner with the diagonals until you make diamond shapes with the whole pan. Spoon the remaining hot clarified butter evenly over the top, using the back of the spoon to gently spread the butter, if needed, without disturbing the top layer of phyllo.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 to 55 minutes until nice and golden brown. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water over high heat. Bring to a boil then add the lemon juice and cloves, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  • When the baklava is completely cool, and the syrup is warm, but not too hot (about 160 to 165 degrees), ladle the syrup over the pan of baklava and let it soak in until mostly absorbed. There will still be some syrup left in the pan, but most of it should soak into the dough. Use a sharp knife and go over all the previous cuts, making sure the baklava is cut all the way through before serving, Store at room temperature.

Notes & Nutrition

  • You will note that in this recipe instead of trimming the dough to fit the pan, we simply fold over the dough on either end. This is a time-saver! You are welcome to trim the dough if necessary, but folding it carefully works well for us.
  • If you’re not good at cutting in a straight line (guilty as charged), use a ruler to guide your knife to cut the rows evenly.
  • It is very important that the baklava be cool, and the syrup still be warm. If the baklava and syrup are both hot, the result will be mushy baklava. If they are both cold, the syrup won’t soak into the baklava at all.
Servings 60.0 * calories 107 * Total Fat 7 g * Saturated Fat 3 g * Monounsaturated Fat 1 g * Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g * Trans Fat 0 g * Cholesterol 12 mg * Sodium 1 mg * Potassium 19 mg * Total Carbohydrate 10 g * Dietary Fiber 1 g * Sugars 1 g * Protein 2 g
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*
Three pieces of bourma baklava, rolled and scrunched phyllo dough stuffed with walnuts

Bourma Baklava

Victoria
Bourma Baklava, or Sari Bourma, is a rolled variation of baklava featuring the same beloved flavors and ingredients.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Armenian, Greek, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Turkish
Servings 40 center-cut pieces
Calories 159 kcal

Equipment

  • 1/4-inch diameter dowel

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (1 pound) package phyllo dough (approximately 14-by-18-inches)
  • 12 ounces 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted and clarified

Filling:

  • 12 ounces finely chopped walnuts
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Syrup:

  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 10 whole cloves

Instructions
 

  • Grease a half sheet pan (12-by-17-inch) and set aside. Prepare the filling by mixing together the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Open the package of phyllo dough and lay it out on the table covered with a cloth when not using it. Take one sheet of dough at a time and fold it in half width-wise (like a book). Brush/blot lightly with butter, sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling over most of the dough, leaving about 2 inches free at the top edge. Fold 1 inch over at the bottom and place the dowel here. Roll up from this end, finishing at the filling-free end.
  • Set the seam side down. Push the two ends together toward the center using both hands, giving the dough a crinkled look. Remove the dowel and place the bourma on the greased sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough and then brush the tops of all of them liberally with melted clarified butter. Cut off the ends of each bourma and then cut the center part in half, creating two bourma baklava per roll with the trimmings on either side.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes until nice and golden brown. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water over high heat. Bring to a boil then add the lemon juice and cloves, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  • When the bourma baklava is completely cool, and the syrup is warm, but not too hot (about 160 to 165 degrees), ladle the syrup over the pan and let it soak in until mostly absorbed. There will still be some syrup left in the pan, but most of it should soak into the dough. Use a sharp knife and go over all the previous cuts, making sure the bourma baklava is cut all the way through before serving. Store at room temperature.

Notes & Nutrition

  • It is very important that the bourma baklava be cool, and the syrup still be warm. If the bourma baklava and syrup are both hot, the result will be mushy bourma. If they are both cold, the syrup won’t soak into the bourma at all.
Servings 40.0 * calories 159 * Total Fat 13 g * Saturated Fat 5 g * Monounsaturated Fat 1 g * Polyunsaturated Fat 4 g * Trans Fat 0 g * Cholesterol 18 mg * Sodium 55 mg * Potassium 47 mg * Total Carbohydrate 10 g * Dietary Fiber 1 g * Sugars 3 g * Protein 2 g
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*
A tray of kadayef pastries in cupcake paper cups

Kadayef

Victoria
Layered kadayef pastries made shredded phyllo (filo) dough and a creamy ricotta cheese filling.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine Armenian, Greek, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Turkish
Servings 24 to 30 pieces
Calories 216 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound shredded kadayef dough aka shredded phyllo dough or shredded pastry dough
  • 8 ounces 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and clarified

Filling:

  • 1 pound ricotta cheese, lightly whipped

Syrup:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 5 whole cloves

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl combine the kadayef dough with the melted butter and mix with your hands to coat thoroughly.
  • Spread half the dough in a 8-by-12-inch or 9-by-13-inch baking pan or dish (the larger pan will yield slightly thinner pieces–I used a 10-by-12-inch pan), pressing down lightly. Spread the filling over the surface and then top with the rest of the buttery dough, pressing down firmly.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F until golden brown, about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into 2-to-2 1/2-inch squares.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water over high heat. Bring to a boil then add the lemon juice and cloves, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  • When the kadayef is completely cool, and the syrup is warm, but not too hot (about 160 to 165 degrees), ladle the syrup over the pan and let it soak in until mostly absorbed. There will still be some syrup left in the pan, but most of it should soak into the dough. Store at room temperature.

Notes & Nutrition

*Variation* To make a nut filling, combine 8 ounces finely chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Follow the recipe as directed, substituting this nut filling for the ricotta.
It is very important that the kadayef be cool, and the syrup still be warm. If the kadayef and syrup are both hot, the result will be mushy kadayef. If they are both cold, the syrup won’t soak into the kadayef at all.
Servings 24.0 * calories 216 * Total Fat 11 g * Saturated Fat 6 g * Monounsaturated Fat 1 g * Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g * Trans Fat 0 g * Cholesterol 19 mg * Sodium 92 mg * Potassium 15 mg * Total Carbohydrate 28 g * Dietary Fiber 0 g * Sugars 17 g * Protein 3 g
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*

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3 varieties of baklava (traditional, bourma, and kadayef)

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Jessie
    December 21, 2009 at 12:25 am

    I love baklava and bourma, I'm bookmarking your recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Victoria
    December 21, 2009 at 12:26 am

    Thanks! The credit goes to my awesome mommy, haha ๐Ÿ™‚ She's been making it for years!

  • Reply
    Tasty Eats At Home
    December 21, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Oh wow this looks so good. I am jealous! I love, love love baklava.

  • Reply
    Karine
    January 3, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    These look delicious! thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Angie's Recipes
    January 4, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Shredded kadayef dough looks amazing! Is it similar to the filo pastry?
    These 3 layered pastries are truly tempting!

  • Reply
    Victoria
    January 5, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    It's kind of similar but a lot easier to work with! No worries about it cracking or falling apart. Just threads of crunchy goodness on the outside, with soft gooey goodness on the inside, haha.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    October 25, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I haven't made bourma in years and needed a refresher. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Marlynn | Urban Bliss Life
    January 6, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    5 stars
    I love baklava and have always wanted to make it at home. Thank you for these variations!

  • Reply
    Tawnie Kroll
    January 6, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    5 stars
    I’m so happy I found your recipe – my mom is Armenian and loved that I made these for her ! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Renee | The Good Hearted Woman
    January 6, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    5 stars
    Thank you for this delicious, informative post! There is nothing like homemade baklava. My daughter learned to make baklava from her mother-in-law, who used to be a professional baker back in Armenia. So good!

  • Reply
    Beth
    January 6, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    5 stars
    I have always heard of baklava but had not heard of the other two desserts! They all look equally delicious!

  • Reply
    Anita
    January 6, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    5 stars
    I love baklava but have never summoned the courage to make it a home. I’m going to try making one with your recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Mary Kabakian
    January 6, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    5 stars
    These are everyone’s favorites. They are so yummy, look awesome on the platter and make wonderful Christmas gifts for your friends and relatives.

  • Reply
    Camille
    January 7, 2020 at 10:14 am

    5 stars
    I absolutely love baklava and I hardly ever have it. I’m so glad you posted these recipes!

  • Reply
    Lucy Reinbold
    January 7, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    5 stars
    These are positively evil (in the best kind of way)!

  • Leave a Reply

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