This rhubarb baklava is the ultimate treat. Honey-soaked sticky layers of gooey nutty rhubarb-rose filling and buttery flaky phylo dough.
A Love Affair
Ya’all, I have been having love affairs with both rhubarb and baklava for some time now. And I’ve been keeping one from the other for far too long. That all changed last year when I mustered up the courage to bring them together. And I am oh-so-glad I did.
I was cooking a spring-inspired “Secret Supper in the Valley” on a beautiful farm in Minnesota for some dear friends. They’re dedicated to restoring native prairie for pollinators and wildlife, which is something Matt and I hope to do in the coming years. For that reason, the menu included spring produce and floral/honey elements. Things like asparagus, rhubarb, honey, fresh eggs, green garlic, foraged mushrooms, young herbs, and pollinator flowers.
We started the evening with a Sparkling Spring Pollinator Cocktail. I shared the recipe here last year. It has rhubarb-honey syrup, botanical gin, lavender, and champagne. I wanted to come full circle with the dessert. Honey made me think of my beloved baklava, and rhubarb is my main spring squeeze. Although my heart belongs to one human, my love of flavors is most certainly polyamorous. Could I bring together my love of rhubarb with my love of baklava into one harmonious treat? You bet!
This rhubarb baklava is the ultimate treat. Honey-soaked sticky layers of gooey nutty rhubarb-rose filling and buttery flaky phylo dough. And like any truly great dessert (or lovers’ rendezvous), it’s as equally satisfying the next morning. A pan doesn’t last long around here.
A few notes about the recipe. The rhubarb is very subtle. This is intentional. The idea here is baklava with a hint of rhubarb. A little rhubarb adds to the gooey-ness. Too much rhubarb can make it soggy.
Most recipes call for a syrup that is predominately sugar. This recipe is predominately honey. Personally, I love the flavor of honey. And if I’m going to indulge in a sweet treat, I’d rather it be soaked in honey versus white sugar.
Allow yourself adequate time to make this! We’re working with multiple layers of thin phylo dough, brushing butter, and evenly layering finely chopped nuts and rhubarb. If you’re rushed, it can become frustrating. Throw on some good tunes or a podcast, and enjoy the process. It’s soothing and fun if you can take your time. It’s definitely a make-ahead recipe. The flavor gets better as it sits, and it can be stored at room temperature, so no taking up refrigerator space.
Alright, that’s it! Enjoy with someone you love 🙂
- 2 cups honey
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 whole cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon rose water
- 12 ounces nuts I used pistachios, pecans, & almonds
- 1.5 cups rhubarb very finely chopped (about the same size as processed nuts)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon table salt
- 2 sticks butter melted
- 1 pound frozen phyllo thawed
- For the honey syrup: Combine all honey syrup ingredients EXCEPT rose water in small saucepan and bring to slight boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a measuring cup with pouring spout to cool. Once cool, discard spices and stir in rose water.
- For the nut filling: Pulse nuts in food processor until very finely chopped and pour into a medium-size bowl. Add rhubarb, cinnamon, cloves, coconut sugar, and salt; toss well to combine.
- To assemble and bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush 13- by 9-inch baking pan with butter. Unwrap and unfold phyllo on large cutting board; smooth out as much as possible. Cut the sheets in half crosswise, so you end up with two evenly-sized stacks. Cover with plastic wrap and then a damp kitchen towel to prevent drying.
- Place one phyllo sheet in the baking pan and brush with butter until coated. Place another phyllo sheet on top and brush with butter. Repeat with 6 more phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter.
- Evenly add about 1.5 cups nut/rhubarb filling over phyllo. Cover filling with one phyllo sheet and brush or dab (if slipping) with butter. Repeat with 5 more phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter. Repeat layering with additional 1.5 cups filling, 6 sheets phyllo, and remaining 1.5 cups filling. Finish with 8 to 10 phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter EXCEPT for the final sheet. Using palms of your hands, press down on the baklava to remove any air bubbles. Brush the top layer with remaining butter. Using a serrated knife, cut into desired shape. Tip: Place pan in freezer for 15 minutes for easier cutting.
- Transfer to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 300 degrees and bake until golden and crisp, about 1 hour, rotating baking pan halfway through baking. Immediately after removing baklava from oven, pour cooled honey syrup over cut lines. Cool to room temperature, about 4 hours, then loosely cover with foil and let stand at least 8 hours before serving.
May your sweets always be soaked with love.