Pakhlava Azerbaijani-style

Pakhlava (Pahlava) is a delicious sweet pastry of Middle Eastern origins. There are several varieties of Pakhlava in Azerbaijan, the most popular of which is the multilayered Azerbaijani-style pakhlava. Traditionally it is eaten during Novruz, an Azerbaijani holiday celebrating the new year and the coming of spring, together with Shekerbura and Shor-Gogal, but is often enjoyed all throughout the year.

Cup size 250 ml
Baking pan 12″ x 18″ (don’t use removable bottom pans!)
Quantity 25-30 diamond-shape pieces
Ingredients for the yeast mixture:
1 tsp dry yeast
1 tbsp white granulated sugar
1 tbsp flour
1/3 cup warm water (or milk)
Ingredients for the dough:

1 large egg (room temperature)
pinch of salt
2 tbsp sour cream (room temperature)
1 cup (½ lb) warm melted unsalted butter
1 cup warm milk
6 cups all purpose flour
Ingredients for the filling:
3 cups crashed nuts (walnuts, peeled almonds, or peeled hazelnuts)
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
Ingredients for layering:
1 cup clarified warmed and melted butter
Ingredients for coating and decorations:
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon saffron infusion
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup hot melted clarified butter
Ingredients for syrup:
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ cup honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preparing the yeast mixture.
In a large cup, mix the dry ingredients together (yeast, flour, and sugar). Add 1/3 cup of warm water or milk, mix into a smooth mass, and leave it in a warm place to rise.
While it’s rising, melt the butter over low heat, and lightly warm the milk.


Preparing the dough.
Mix the egg, salt, sour cream, yeast mixture, warm milk and melted butter in a large bowl.


Begin kneading the dough while slowly adding flour. (The quality of flour can vary, so keep in mind that you may have to add more or less than the amount listed in the ingredients.) Remember to save some flour for dusting the layers.


Continue kneading the dough until it is smooth, soft, and does not stick to your hands.


Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 2 hours in a warm place. To make the dough rise more quickly, turn on the oven to at least 200°F (93°C) and place the bowl on top of the stove.


Preparing the filling and syrup.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling and syrup.
Blend the nuts (not too finely) using a blender or food processor. Remove the nuts from the blender and mix them with the sugar, ground cardamom, ground coriander, and vanilla sugar.


For syrup, mix together sugar and water in a small pot or saucepan, and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, don’t let it boil. Then add the honey in a pan and lemon juice, mix well, and cook over very low heat for about 10-15 more minutes. Do not let it boil! You will get approximately 1 cup of syrup.


Assembling and baking Pakhlava.
Risen puffy dough divide into 12 balls, one for each layer of pakhlava. 10 of them are have to be the same size, and 2 of them are larger (for bottom and top layers). Cover them to prevent from drying.


Brush a baking pan with melted butter.
Roll out the first large ball of dough, place it into your baking pan, making sure the dough completely covers the bottom, and gently brush the layer with warm, melted, clarified butter.


Then add 4+ tablespoons of filling, and spread it evenly.


Roll out the second ball into a very thin layer (until it’s see-through)


Place it on top of the first layer, brush with butter, and spread the filling on it.


Repeat until all the layers are used, but do not butter and do not spread the filling on the uppermost layer. Last layer must be thicker, than layers in the middle of pakhlava. Slightly compress every other layer so that your pakhlava will be nicely formed.
Cut the pakhlava into diamonds and coat it with a mixture of egg yolks, saffron infusion and olive oil.
Press a nut into the center of each diamond-shaped slice.


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) degrees and let the pakhlava bake for 20 minutes.
Then remove it from the oven, cut very gently all diamonds to the bottom of the pan and slowly pour a ½ cup of melted clarified butter on top. Place it back into the oven to bake for an another 15 minutes.


Remove pakhlava from the oven and cut again all diamonds to the bottom of the pan, then slowly pour over the honey syrup, making sure that it gets in between each slice. Place pakhlava back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
After it’s done baking, remove from the oven and  let it cool down.


While it‘s still warm, carefully remove each slice one-by-one from the baking pan, and place it onto a plate to be served.


Enjoy with a cup of tea!


This post is also available in: Russian

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