Rosewater Pistachio Baklava

May 12, 2017

Sunday May 14th is Mother’s Day….a day to celebrate and honour Mom. Now we’re both moms and we are always up for a day of pampering. No laundry, a clean house, someone else making dinner, a few moments to ourselves to relax, put  our feet up and indulge in a glass or two of  bubbly. We’re not asking for much. Life is hectic and sometimes it is simply nice to be allowed the time to stop and smell the roses! This Sunday, we are all about life’s little indulgences. Skip the bouquet of roses and that bottle of perfume and make mom something special.

We loved our Rosewater Pistachio Baklava and hope your mom will too. Layer upon layer of flaky, buttery, phyllo pastry filled with chopped pistachios….all held together by a sweet, meyer lemon syrup infused with a perfume of rosewater and topped off with a sprinkle of gold flake.  A sweet morsel made for Mom, but in pan big enough for the whole family to enjoy. Just make sure mom gets the biggest piece!

Our baklava is scented with a delicate rose petal aroma which is infused into the sweet syrup that is poured over top the just baked pastry. To acheive this, we have used rosewater, a classic flavouring in many Persian sweets like marzipan, nougat, ice cream and Turkish delights. Since ancient times, roses have been used as a source of perfume. One of the most praised and beautiful fragrances, valued for centuries and in many cultures. The Queen of essential oils.  A powerful aphrodisiac with a rich, healing, mood elevating and enveloping scent, it’s delicate aroma able to transport one to a world of love and beauty.

Rosewater is a byproduct of making rose oil for perfume. Roses are harvested when the bud has just burst open and the rose oil is at its most concentrated. The petals are first steeped in water and then distilled.  After distillation, the rose oil floasts to the top of the water and is skimmed off. The water is redistilled to harvest every drop of rose oil which is perfume gold, then the rosewater is sent for bottling. Rosewater is used mainly for its scent and adds a lightly sweet and fragrant flavour to recipes. Just remember, a little goes a long way. We have become so enamoured by this scent, we have used it in ice cream, panna cotta, cakes and even to flavour cocktails.  It’s especially delicious paired with floral Meyer lemons as we have used it here.

Rosewater Pistachio Baklava

for pastry:

  • 1 lb pkg.  phyllo pastry, thawed overnight in the fridge
  • 1 lb shelled pistachos
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted

for the syrup:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 2 tsps rosewater
  • gold flake for garnish


  1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a 13 x 9 baking sheet with parment paper.
  2.  Gently unroll the phyllo.  Using a very sharp knife, cut the phyllo sheets in half width wise.  Gather up the sheet s and place in one neat stack.  Cover with a clean tea towel.
  3.  Combine the pistachios, 1/2 cup of sugarand spices in the bowl of a food processor.
  4.  Pulse the nut mixture until just coarsely chopped.
  5.  Place one sheet of phyllo in prepared pan.  Brush lightly with melted butter.  Repeat until about one third of the phyllo sheets have been used.
  6.  Spread half of the nut mixture over the buttered phyllo.  Continue adding buttered phyllo sheets until about another third of the stack has been used.
  7.  Spread the remaining mixture over the buttered phyllo.  At this point you will have 4 layers in the pan; phyllo/nuts/phyllo nuts, as well as the remaining unused 1/3 of the phyllo.
  8.  Butter the remaining phyllo, one sheet at a time, placing it in the pan as you go.
  9.  Use a very sharp knife to cut the baklava into lengthwiserows.  Cut acroos the rows on a diagonal angle to form diamonds.
  10.  Bake until golden, 30-40 minutes.
  11.  While the baklava is baking, prepare the syrup.
  12.  Combine sugar, water, zest and lemon juice in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and simmer gently until sugar is completely dissolved.  Remove from heat, add rosewater.
  13.  Remove baklava from oven, pour syrup over, making sure to pour it into all of the cracks.  Cool completely before serving.

Like a good friend…we are just trying to push you outside of your comfort zone.

Live a little and expand your palate.

Happy  Mother’s Day!  Stop and smell (eat) the roses!


Christie Pollard

Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers

After 10 years as a restaurateur, culinary instructor and caterer, a trip to France sparked an untapped enthusiasm for all things wine.  I gave up the restaurant life,  made a huge u-turn and dove head first into the vast world of wine.  I have never looked back and achieved my Sommelier certification with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers in 2015.  I love sharing my pursuit of the perfect pairing in a fun, unfussy and ultimately delicious way with my friends, family and those I teach.


Josie Pontarelli

Red Seal Chef, Culinary Instructor

I graduated from the Stratford Chefs School in 1999 and achieved Red Seal Certification shortly thereafter. With this strong foundation laid, an opportunity to spend time in California presented itself. While there, I was intoxicated by the seasonality and quality of the ingredients everywhere I looked. This experience proved to be a turning point for me in how I thought about food. It inspired me to have a deep and enduring respect for the people, food and culture that go into the perfect dish.

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