These easy baklava bites, filled with apples, walnuts, and honey, can be made in under 30 minutes! They make a great lunchbox surprise or after dinner treat.
I created this recipe for my client, National Honey Board. Thank you for supporting the products that keep me inspired in the kitchen and help make Healthy Delicious possible.
The first time I remember eating really good baklava was back when I was in college. I was in DC for the semester and we went to an event at one of the embassies (I wish I could remember which one!) where they had a plate of it out. I was hooked from the first bite and proceeded to eat an embarrassing amount.
Fast forward a few years and I thought I must have dreamed up that baklava. I tried it several times since then but it didn’t do anything for me. It was too dry, too flaky, too nutty… just not the delicious baklava that I remembered. Then last year we tried a new-to-us Middle Eastern restaurant and I hit baklava gold. It was everything I remembered it being, and then some.
The difference was in the way the baklava was made. Instead of having layer upon layer of fillo and filling, it had one thick layer of filling sandwiched between just two layers of pastry. More filling and less fillo meant this baklava wasn’t as dry and crumbly as some of the others I’d tried. Plus it had the perfect amount of honey – enough to keep the filling moist and add that familiar flavor without being too sticky-sweet.
I don’t remember what gave me the idea of making apple baklava, but I knew it would be a winner. Apples + honey + walnuts are a match made in heaven! These baklava bites are perfect for fall but you can easily make them year-round.
Using fillo shells instead of sheets means these bite-sized baklava cups are incredibly easy to make. You don’t have to worry about defrosting the pastry or working with all of those delicate sheets – just pack the filling right into the frozen shells!
To keep things on the lighter side, I made a filling that’s about half diced apple and half traditional baklava filling. I added some flour to counterbalance the extra moisture I knew the apples would add (no one wants a soggy shell) and added some warm fall spices to give the recipe an apple pie-meets-baklava vibe.
While the baklava bites baked, I made a syrup by boiling down a combination of water and honey. Thinning out the honey this way allows it to seep into every nook and cranny of the baklava and make it super yummy. You can also flavor the honey syrup with other ingredients to infuse even more flavor into your dessert. I added lemon juice and cardamom, which complemented the apple and walnut filling perfectly.
You can use any kind of honey for these (did you know there are over 300 varietals in the US?!) but the color, flavor, and even aroma may differ depending on the nectar source of flowers visited by the honey bee. The colors may range from nearly colorless to dark brown, the flavor may vary from delectably mild to distinctively bold, and some have a more floral flavor than others. Visit honeylocator.com to find honey varietals near you. Play around with this recipe and let me know which type of honey is your personal favorite!
easy apple baklava
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon butter, cut into 8 cubes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 apple, peeled and finely diced ( about 1/2 cup)
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 package mini fillo shells (15 shells)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
Heat your oven to 350ºF. Arrange the fillo shells on a baking sheet.
Add the walnuts, butter, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt to a food processor or blender; process until the ingredients come together into a chunky dough. Combine the apples and flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add the walnut mixture; mix well.
Pack about 1 heaping teaspoon of the apple-walnut mixture into each fillo shell. Bake for 10 minutes.
While the baklava bakes, combine the water and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 8-10 minutes or until reduced to a thin syrup. Stir in the cardamom and lemon juice.
Carefully spoon the syrup over the baked baklava, letting it seep into the walnut filling.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.