Pistachio Baklava with Cardamom and Rose Water

Crisp, flaky, buttery Middle Eastern baklava filled with fragrant nuts and spices and a sweetened rose water syrup. 

Pistachio Baklava with Cardamom and Rose Water | URBAN BAKES

To all the moms and moms-to-be, I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

I may not be a mother yet but I sure feel like one with my two fur babies, Grizz-Lee and Chocolate.  You can read more posts about my obsession of them HERE.  Although at the moment they’re not with me permanently, I visit them several times a month and it was with great joy that I was able to see my babies on Mother’s Day; though I did spend most of that day celebrating Grizz’s 5th birthday with a party.  (Details to come later this week!)

For the meantime, my newest obsession is rose water.  Can’t seem to get enough of this stuff.

Recently, while meeting a friend at a local bakery, I stumbled upon a line of teas in which one variety instantly grabbed my attention.  It had to have been its vibrant pink color and the flavor in itself was intriguing, lemon rose water.  Oh, you know… I just had to buy one and you better believe it, after tasting this flavor combination, I’ll be making something with lemon-rose shortly.  Ha!  Bear with me as I hope plan to have this my last rose water dessert for the season.  

Pistachio Baklava with Cardamom and Rose Water | URBAN BAKES

This dessert is the first true pastry on URBAN BAKES, thus the first time I working with phyllo sheets.  I’ve always stayed away from anything pastry related not because I am more of a cake-fan but because there was a large misconception in my mind that anything pastry related was difficult including the use of premade phyllo sheets.  Boy, do I feel like a fool.  If there was anything difficult about this recipe, it was actually spending 30 minutes cracking open the pistachios!  My finger tips were not happy about that.

Nevertheless, working with phyllo sheets was much simpler than I thought.  They are thin and they will dry out if care is not given to keep the sheets moist but other than this, surprisingly there was absolutely nothing difficult in making baklava.  A great start for any beginner into pastry desserts.  Of course the best part, is its flavor which will surely leave you craving for more!  Highly addicting and I cannot wait to get my hands on trying new flavors of baklava, perhaps the Greek version using homemade puff pastry and shaped into rounds too!

Pistachio Baklava with Cardamom and Rose Water | URBAN BAKES
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Pistachio Baklava with Cardamom and Rose Water | URBAN BAKES

Pistachio Baklava with Cardamom and Rose Water

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  • Author: Connie Chong
  • Total Time: 9 hours
  • Yield: 13x9 inch baklava sheet or 48 pieces 1x


Crisp, flaky, buttery Middle Eastern baklava filled with fragrant nuts and spices and a sweetened rose water syrup. 


Units Scale


  • 2 3/4 cups shelled pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks or 24 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 pound (14 x 9-inch) phyllo, thawed


  • 1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon rose water



  1. In a food processor, pulse pistachios until finely chopped Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with the remaining filling ingredients. Measure out 1 tablespoon to use for garnishing.


  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter until milk solids have separated from the butterfat and has collected onto the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove pan from heat and allow butter to settle for 10 minutes.
  3. Using a spoon, carefully skim and discard foam from the surface of the butter. Slowly pour clear butterfat into a bowl leaving behind all milk solids in the pan. NOTE: 1 cup of clarified butter should remain.


  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Using the clarified butter, grease the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking pan. NOTE: to prevent phyllo sheets from drying out in between layering, cover the sheets with its plastic wrap and place a damp towel over the plastic.
  2. Place 1 phyllo sheet fitted onto the bottom of the greased baking pan. Brush coat the entire sheet with clarified butter. Repeat layering of 7 sheets coating in between each sheet with clarified butter.
  3. Evenly sprinkle 1 cup of pistachio filling and repeat layering of 6 phyllo sheets brush coating in between each sheet with clarified butter.
  4. Sprinkle with 1 cup pistachio filling. Layer the remaining 7-10 phyllo sheets into the pan brush coating each sheet with clarified butter.
  5. Using the palms of your hands, gently press above the center of the baklava and push outwards to reduce any air pockets. Spoon and brush coat remaining butter across the top sheet.
  6. Using a serrated knife, cut baklava into diamonds. Bake for 60-90 minutes till baklava is golden in color and crisp.


  1. Meanwhile, in a 2-quart saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil; stir occasionally to ensure sugar dissolves. Transfer syrup into a shallow pan or bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. Once syrup has cooled, remove the peppercorns and stir in rose water. NOTE: syrup can be refrigerated up to 4 days.
  3. When baklava has finished baking, pour syrup over the top. Garnish the center of each piece with remaining pistachio filling. Allow baklava to cool for 8 hours before serving. ENJOY!
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Recipe adapted from (p.456) The Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book.

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