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Rhubarb Baklava with Honey & Rose

Rhubarb Baklava, I love you. Honey-soaked sticky layers of gooey nutty rhubarb-rose filling and buttery flaky phyllo dough. You, me, and a cup of coffee in the morning, please.

rhubarb baklava with honey and rose flatlay

Quick Note

Before we start, we don’t have a recipe plugin just yet, but the recipe is still at the bottom! I promised a few individuals this would be available today. What I wasn’t anticipating was the necessary upgrade and 2-4 business days to complete it. So, please forgive the rough format. Once the upgrade is complete, you’ll see a recipe card, so it’s easy to print, etc. Thanks!

spring dessert bar bite
garden rhubarb harvest
spring ingredients from the garden for baking
garden rhubarb harvest

Rhubarb, Rose, & Honey

Rhubarb is one of the first things we’re able to harvest in the Midwest. This not only triggers excitement for the new season, but it also sparks creativity. Do you ever find that the less options you have, the more creative magic happens?

That’s how this recipe was born. I was cooking a Secret Supper in the valley at a friend’s farm. It was early spring, so I had to take advantage of rhubarb. However, I wanted something a little unexpected.

Their farm is home to pollinator prairie, so honey and floral notes were also a must. Enter baklava. I love baklava, but it has a tendency toward cloyingly sweet. What would counteract the sweetness? Tart rhubarb and a touch of rose water, that’s what. And Rhubarb Baklava was born.

As a side note, it was these friends that inspired Matt and I to look into growing pollinator prairie on our own farm. And guess what?! We received funding from the NRCS to establish our very-own pollinator prairie, but more on that later.

fresh garden rhubarb
chemex coffee
rhubarb baklava with honey and rose
spring dessert bar

Rhubarb Baklava Recipe Notes

Honey-soaked sticky layers of gooey nutty rhubarb-rose filling and buttery flaky phyllo dough. And like any truly great dessert (or lovers’ rendezvous), it’s as equally satisfying the next morning. A pan doesn’t last long around here.

A few notes about the recipe. The rhubarb is very subtle. This is intentional. The idea here is baklava with a hint of tart rhubarb. A little rhubarb adds to the gooey-ness. Too much rhubarb can make it soggy.

Most recipes call for a syrup that is predominately sugar. This recipe is predominately honey. Personally, I love the flavor of honey. And since we raise honey bees, it’s one of my go-to sweeteners.

Allow yourself adequate time to make this! We’re working with multiple layers of thin phylo dough, brushing butter, and evenly layering finely chopped nuts and rhubarb. If you’re rushed, it can become frustrating.

Throw on some good tunes or a podcast, and enjoy the process. It’s soothing and fun if you can take your time. This is definitely a make-ahead recipe. The flavor gets better as it sits, and it can be stored at room temperature, so no taking up precious refrigerator space.

rhubarb baklava with honey and rose

Rhubarb Baklava

This rhubarb baklava is the ultimate treat. Honey-soaked sticky layers of gooey nutty rhubarb-rose filling and buttery flaky phylo dough.

Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Resting Time: 8 hrs
Total Time: 10 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 24

Ingredients

Honey Syrup

  • 2 cups honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or regular white sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon rose water (optional, but delicious)

Nut Filling

  • 12 ounces nuts (I used pistachios, pecans, & almonds)
  • 1.5 cups rhubarb very finely chopped (about the same size as processed nuts)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or regular white sugar)
  • ⅛ teaspoon table salt

Pastry

  • 2 sticks butter melted
  • 1 pound frozen phyllo thawed

Instructions

  1. For the honey syrup: Combine all honey syrup ingredients EXCEPT rose water in small saucepan and bring to slight boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a measuring cup with pouring spout to cool. Once cool, discard spices and stir in rose water.
  2. For the nut filling: Pulse nuts in food processor until very finely chopped and pour into a medium-size bowl. Add rhubarb, cinnamon, cloves, coconut sugar, and salt; toss well to combine.
  3. To assemble and bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush 13- by 9-inch baking pan with butter. Unwrap and unfold phyllo on large cutting board; smooth out as much as possible. Cut the sheets in half crosswise, so you end up with two evenly-sized stacks. Cover with plastic wrap and then a damp kitchen towel to prevent drying.
  4. Place one phyllo sheet in the baking pan and brush with butter until coated. Place another phyllo sheet on top and brush with butter. Repeat with 6 more phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter.
  5. Evenly add about 1.5 cups nut/rhubarb filling over phyllo. Cover filling with one phyllo sheet and brush or dab (if slipping) with butter. Repeat with 5 more phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter. Repeat layering with additional 1.5 cups filling, 6 sheets phyllo, and remaining 1.5 cups filling. Finish with 8 to 10 phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter EXCEPT for the final sheet. Using palms of your hands, press down on the baklava to remove any air bubbles. Brush the top layer with remaining butter. Using a serrated knife, cut into desired shape. Tip: Place pan in freezer for 15 minutes for easier cutting.
  6. Transfer to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 300 degrees and bake until golden and crisp, about 1 hour, rotating baking pan halfway through baking. Immediately after removing baklava from oven, pour cooled honey syrup over cut lines. Cool to room temperature, about 4 hours, then loosely cover with foil and let stand at least 8 hours before serving.

If you enjoyed this, I’d love it if you shared with your pals!

rhubarb baklava with raw honey and rose taste of spring

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