Mocklava (Easy Baklava) ~ If you love baklava, this is an easy and adaptable recipe using crescent roll dough instead of phyllo! Fantastic dessert!
I love baklava (pronounced “bahk-LAH-vah”), but I’ve never worked with phyllo, the dough typically used to make baklava. Once I got to thinking about how I could make “my” version of baklava, I recalled an old episode of “Friends” — the one where Monica is creating recipes using “mock” chocolate. I giggled to (and at) myself for even remembering that episode, but it served as my immediate inspiration for my easy baklava’s moniker: Mocklava!
I first tried baklava many years ago, at my best friend’s urging, and immediately fell in love with this sweet, flaky treat. As much as I love to bake, I had never really thought about making baklava. But a few weekends back I thought about making it after popping open a can of crescent rolls and wondering if they’d be a good stand-in for phyllo. Crescents are flaky and light too … and cutting-corner Me loved the idea of using dough that’s so easy to find.
As much as I love baklava, I’m not big on walnuts. But I adore pecans, especially with lots of cinnamon. This is already a “mock” version of the real deal, so why not shake things up even more by using pecans instead?
My expectation for this little creation wasn’t the highest but it was a HUGE hit. This was easy enough to let my eager little helpers do their part too. They loved mixing the pecans, cinnamon and sugar … and maybe tested a coated pecan or two along the way. 😉
Now, back to the dough … did you know that crescent rolls come in cans of seamless dough too, not just perforated into little triangles? Um, yeah … I didn’t know that! 😉 So I was ecstatic to make this discovery at the grocer after immediately realizing just how easy it would be to work with. If you only have the standard version on hand or your grocer doesn’t carry the seamless variety, you can use the standard dough by pinching the perforations together to create one sheet.
I had no idea that the yummy secret to good baklava is in the syrup that’s used on top. And there needs to be an abundance – but not so much that it’s swimming in syrup. I’ll admit that I was a bit concerned about spooning the rest on top; would it all be absorbed or did I just ruin this beautiful dessert in the last step by drowning it? I forced myself to be patient and allowed it to cool for an hour instead of hovering over it, arms crossed over my chest with my foot tapping impatiently.
My impatience did manage to bite me, though, when I tried to serve this while still cool from its time in the fridge. Mistake! The ooey-gooey syrup isn’t very forgiving when it’s cold … I should have waited instead of rushing because I destroyed my metal baking pan (it was old anyway). After the pan warmed, the spatula easily slid down into the scores and the edges, making serving MUCH easier. I also found it easier to remove an entire square and then cut it into two triangles … besides, who wants just one piece of decadent baklava?! Not me! 😉
- 2, 8 oz. cans of crescent roll DOUGH (I found the seamless variety in both brand name and store brand)
- 1–2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 cup honey
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 4 tsp. lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Unroll one can of dough into a 13"x9" greased pan.
- Flatten the dough and press into the edges and corners (a little bit going up the sides of the pan is okay); bake 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix pecans, 1/2 cup of sugar and the cinnamon. Thoroughly coat the nuts.
- Spread the pecan mixture evenly over crust.
- Open the other can of dough and place over nut mixture; gently stretch to edges of pan.
- Using the tip of a knife or pizza cutter, gently score/slice the dough to create 32 triangles (you only need to score the top layer of dough and not cut through all layers).
- In one-quart saucepan, mix remaining 1/2 cup sugar, honey, butter and lemon juice. Heat to boiling; remove from heat and spoon half of sugar mixture evenly over dough.
- Bake 25–30 minutes or until golden brown; remove from oven.
- Spoon remaining warm sugar mixture evenly over hot baklava; cool completely (at least an hour).
- Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 30 minutes. Remove from fridge approximately 30 minutes before serving to make cutting easier.
Tip: If you’re unsure how to score your dough into even sections, draw a rectangle on paper and map it out first. Split the width down the middle, then divide each of those in half (4 long columns). Then turn the pan and repeat for the length (split it in half, then split in half again). You should have 16 squares when you’re finished. Put a diagonal score across each square, which will give you 32 triangles.For more cinnamony goodness, check out these delectable treats: