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Ganja baklava

Gəncə paxlavası - Ganja baklava
The city of Ganja is renowned in Azerbaijan for its baklava, a sweet of pastry, nuts and honey.

Traditional Ganja baklava has more layers of pastry than its Baku equivalent and rose water is added both to the pastry and the filling. In 2010, a 15-metre long and 5-metre wide baklava was made in Ganja. Some 20,000 people tucked into the six-tonne pastry. News.Az is grateful to Ganja’s Leyla Aliyeva for sharing her recipe with us.

Preparation time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 40-45 min
Serves: 5-6


  • For the pastry
  • 250g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 400g soured cream
  • 750g flour
  • a little rose water
  • For the filling
  • 2.5 kg walnuts (or almonds or a mixture of the two)
  • 2 kg sugar
  • 6-7 cardamom pods
  • 8 cloves
  • For the syrup
  • 0.5 kg sugar
  • 400 ml water
  • 40 g honey
  • rose water
  • For the glaze
  • saffron infused in 100 ml water


  • Take the butter out of the fridge to allow it time to reach room temperature.
  • Sieve the flour onto a large board or into a large bowl and make a hole in the centre. Pour the soured cream, eggs and soft butter into the hole and gradually fold in the flour from the outside.
  • Knead well until the dough is smooth and soft.
  • Cover with a clean teacloth and leave in a warm place to rise for 60 to 90 minutes.
  • While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Remove the skin from the walnuts or almonds by heating them in a frying pan, then placing inside a clean teacloth and rubbing, but not too hard. Crumble the skinned nuts and mix with the sugar. Grind the cloves and cardamom and add to the filling.
  • Take the risen dough and separate into 18 balls, one for each layer of the baklava. Roll the balls out until the pastry is very thin, 0.5 mm/0.02 inch thick.
  • Butter a deep baking tin. Place a layer of pastry in the tin, making sure it covers the base completely. Brush with melted butter and place another layer on top.
  • Spread the filling over the second layer, 4-5 mm/0.16-0.2 inches thick.
  • Place another layer on top and cover with filling. Continue until 18 layers are in the baking tin.
  • Cut the baklava in the tin into diamond shapes, 10×4 cm/3.9×1.6 inches, before cooking.
  • Coat the surface with saffron infusion.
  • Place half a walnut or almond in the centre of each diamond.
  • Bake at 180-200 degrees Celsius/350-390 degrees Fahrenheit/gas mark 4 to 6 for 35-40 minutes.
  • Make a syrup of the honey, sugar, water and rose water, mixing it well.
  • Some 15 minutes before the baklava is ready, take it out of the oven and pour over the syrup, allowing it to seep through the baklava.
  • Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.

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