Healthier Fig Pistachio Baklava

105 cal, 14C/5F/2P/7S.

I don’t like to label food as “healthy”. I think it reinforces restrictive views toward food. All food is healthy in moderation (unless you have actual health reasons like allergies etc). But I couldn’t help but make an exception for this one because it sounds so ridiculous.

Baklava is freaking delicious, but let’s be honest it’s as non-health-food as it gets. Flaky layers of white carbs drenched in butter and sugar syrup. Well, there’s usually some nuts in there so… That’s something?

So you know I’m Turkish right. I make baklava (from frozen phyllo dough of course, not handmade – I’m not that Turkish LOL). I first taught myself how to make it for the annual charity bake-off that we have at Google Cambridge. It was an X-stuck-in-Y themed bake-off so I made Brownies-Stuck-In-Baklava and it was decadent AF. They didn’t declare a winner because it was a charity but I think I won it haha.

In the process of making batches and batches of baklava that entire week though, I not only appreciated how easy it is to make homemade baklava but also got some ideas about healthier (ugh, I said it again) swaps. So it’s doesn’t have to be all sugar syrup, why not use honey? It doesn’t have to be all butter, why not use come coconut/avocado oil? Sure, it won’t be exactly the same but it’ll still be really good? And isn’t that the whole premise of this blog haha.

So one Friday night, with a husband waiting with anticipation of sticky gooey middle Eastern treats, this happened. Healthier Baklava was born.

For sweetness I used dried figs and honey. These dried figs are actually from my hometown (Smyrna, modern day Izmir) most stores sell them in the US, Costco, Trader Joe’s etc. I also made a syrup out of honey by simply mixing it with water. Who woulda thunk it. Instead of butter I used coconut oil which gave the baklava a delicious flavor. If you want a more neutral flavor you can sub a more neutral oil like avocado oil.

Ingredients:

  • 125 g phyllo dough layers cut in roughly 8×8 squares
  • 1/2 cup pistachios (60 g)
  • 1/2 cup dried figs (80 g)
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted (60 g)
  • 1/4 cup honey (84 g)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp water

Makes 16 squares or triangles. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a square baking dish. Mine here is 10×10.

  1. If your figs aren’t soft and will give your food processor trouble, pre-soak them in warm water for 30 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, pulse figs and sea salt and then process until you get a fig paste. Add pistachios and process until chopped and incorporated in the mixture. Set aside.
  3. Melt your coconut oil. Start layering the phyllo dough with coconut oil. You want to put one layer down then brush with the oil and repeat until half your layers are placed. Leave the top layer dry (no coconut oil) so the filling sticks to it.
  4. Crumble the fig/pistachio filling on the dough layers. Layer the rest of the phyllo similarly doing layer, oil, layer, oil. When you’re done with the layers take a sharp knife and cut into 16 squares or triangles (I did both for fun). Then pour any remaining coconut oil on top.
  5. Bake until baklava turns nice and golden about 20-30 minutes. While it’s baking stir together honey and warm water to make the syrup.
  6. Remove baklava from the oven and pour the honey syrup evenly on top. Let it cool and absorb the honey then serve! Keep any leftovers in room temperature, if there are any that is. Enjoy!

Author: Elif

Hi I'm Elif! I'm a mama, computer science PhD and Google engineer by day, food blogger by night. I love beautiful desserts that not only taste amazing, but also leave you feeling amazing. I use my math skills and interest in nutrition to carefully optimize my recipes to use simple, good-for-you ingredients and minimal amount of added sugar. I believe that healthy desserts can be simple. Recipes should not send you searching for rare ingredients, untested sweeteners or measuring ridiculous 1/2 tsp of butter. Here we use few ingredients, basic measuring cups, spoons, and simple fruit, veg, little sugar and syrup as sweeteners. Most recipes here use so little added sugar that they're good enough for toddlers. I also believe that you should be able to fit healthy sweets into your daily routine. No matter how much almond flour and coconut oil is in a healthy dessert recipe, there's no way I'm going to ingest a meal's worth of energy and a day's worth of total sugar from dessert alone. And that is the reason all my desserts have less than 200 cal per serving and are low-sugar. So now will you join us?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s