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Baklava with Ricotta, Pistachios, Meyer Lemon, and Lavender

Baklava with Ricotta, Pistachios, Meyer Lemon, and Lavender

Renée Robinson

I Couldn’t Resist Adding My Homemade Ricotta to the Filling.

I used the end of my current batch of my homemade ricotta to make baklava. I also had some leftover toasted pistachio oil that I used for my Roasted Carrots with Sour Cherry Yogurt and Toasted Pistachio Oil and decided to use it here, too. But it isn’t absolutely necessary. This would still be delicious if you simply scattered finely chopped pistachios over the bottom layer of pastry and then added the layer of ricotta. 

I don’t have a lot of experience making baklava, but I do know what I love about it. And what I don’t. I love all those crisp buttery layers of phyllo, but I don’t love it when it’s swimming in syrup, particularly when the syrup is made with honey. I find that to be cloyingly sweet. I’m also not fond of it when it only consists of nuts and pastry. I think it needs a note of brightness. And I felt some creaminess would be very welcome. So, I went with what I love and came up with this.

I used almost an entire box of phyllo – 540 grams. I only had a couple sheets left over. My baking tray is 11” x 15” x 1”. In order to completely cover the bottom of the tray I had to use 4 sheets of phyllo, staggering them around the tray as I went. So, I ended up using 16 sheets for the entire bottom layer and 16 sheets for the top layer. As I mentioned, I had some leftover toasted pistachio oil. I separated the oil from the solids and used the oil to brush on some of the bottom layers of pastry and then scattered the solids on the pastry before spreading on the ricotta. You could simply use butter instead of the oil and still have a great result. As you can see here, the bottom layers have a darker color because of the dark color of the pistachio oil. 

Baklava with Ricotta, Pistachios, Meyer Lemon, and Lavender

I added the zest of two Meyer lemons to the ricotta and used the juice, along with some dried lavender in the syrup. This gave the finished baklava a lovely floral and bright finish. Some additional chopped pistachios and a few dried lavender buds were all that was needed to top it off. I loved how the ricotta filling more or less melted into the layer of nuts, creating a creamy, but slightly chewy filling. This is a baklava I will make again and again. I don’t think I could have been more happy with the results.

Baklava with Ricotta, Pistachios, Meyer Lemon, and Lavender

Recipe by Renée Robinson

12 - 16


Here's my exquisite baklava filled with ricotta and pistachios soaked in a Meyer lemon and lavender syrup. It's the best baklava I've ever tasted. Yep, I stand by that statement.

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  • Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups ricotta, preferably homemade, *See link for the recipe in Notes

  • zest from 2 Meyer lemons

  • 160 grams toasted pistachio oil and solids or 1/2 cup toasted pistachios, chopped fine, *See link for the recipe in Notes

  • 1 box (540 grams) frozen phyllo pastry, thawed

  • 2 1/2 sticks salted butter, melted, or 2 sticks salted butter, plus the oil from the toasted pistachio oil

  • 1/4 cup roasted salted pistachios, chopped for the top

  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers for scattering over the top

  • Syrup Ingredients
  • 250 grams granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers

  • 125 ml water

  • juice from 2 Meyer lemons


  • Preheat oven to 320 degrees.
  • Brush the bottom of an 11” x 15” x 1” baking tray with a little butter. While working with phyllo, always keep it covered with a towel or plastic wrap, otherwise it will dry out. Place one sheet of phyllo into the pan, starting in one corner and brush with the butter. Continue with the remaining sheets, staggering them so they completely fill the bottom of the pan. I used butter on the first 4 sheets and then switched to the toasted pistachio oil for the next 12 sheets. If you don’t have the pistachio oil, simply brush all the sheets of pastry with butter. Spread either the solids from the pistachio oil or 1//2 cup finely chopped pistachios on top of the the pastry. Then spread on all the ricotta. Top with remaining 16 sheets of phyllo, buttering each layer. Slice through the top layers of the finished baklava, creating diamond shapes, although mine ended up being more square shaped. Do not slice through all the way to the bottom layers.
  • Bake for 75 minutes at 320 degrees.
  • In the meantime, combine all the syrup ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until syrupy. Strain through a fine meshed strainer and chill in an ice bath.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and increase the temperature to 350 degrees. As soon as the oven comes up to temperature, pour the cold syrup over the top of the baklava and put the pan back in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter the chopped pistachios and 1 teaspoon dried lavender over the top. Let cool completely before slicing and serving. Enjoy!


  • 11 in. x 15 in. x 1 in.
    Baking Tray


2 Responses

  1. This looks so good! I’m growing lavender, I can’t wait to bake with it!

    Do you have a recommendation for best phyllo pastry, eg brands?

    1. Thank you, Jeanette! I envy you your fresh lavender. It will be so great in this. As to brands of phyllo, I’ve used so many I can’t even possibly remember the specific brands. I have a local Middle Eastern market that has some great ones, but I also buy whatever is available in my regular grocery store, too. You should be fine with whatever brand you purchase. Hope you enjoy it!

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