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Healthier Baklava Rolls

Dunja Gulin
  • Serves: 12
  • Preparation: 20
  • Cooking: 30
  • Passive: 120
  • Ready: 170

A really sweet dessert of Turkish origin, these Baklava Rolls can be made in advance and require only four basic ingredients!


  • 100 g sunflower oil
  • 600 g/20 sheets of filo pastry

For the syrup

  • 390 g agave or pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon bourbon vanilla powder
  • 2 lemons

For the filling

  • 500 g walnuts
  • 120 g semolina
  • 100 g demerara sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

For the syrup, put the syrup and vanilla powder in a saucepan with 560 ml water and heat until boiling. Cut one of the lemons in half, then cut one half into slices and add them to the syrup. Lower the heat, cover and cook for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the juice and zest of the remaining 1½ lemons. Allow to cool completely.

For the filling, grind the walnuts in a spice mill, then mix well with the remaining ingredients.

Mix 50 ml water with 60 ml of the oil.

Place a sheet of filo on a dry work surface with the longer side facing you. (Cover the remaining sheets with clingfilm to prevent them from drying out.) Brush the oil mixture lightly over the sheet. Cover with another sheet (this one doesn’t need oiling).

Take one-tenth of the filling and spread it lengthwise along the bottom edge of the sheet, leaving a 2-cm/¾-inch edge on each side to prevent the filling from spilling out. Roll the sheet up tightly around the filling and into a nice sausage. Repeat this with the remaining sheets of filo and the filling. You should have 10 rolls of baklava. Arrange them snugly in a 40 x 28-cm/16 x 11-inch baking pan. Use a sharp knife to score each roll into 5–6 smaller rolls and brush them with the remaining oil.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown. Check if the bottoms of the rolls are baked too before taking the pan out of the oven. Pour the syrup evenly over all the rolls.

Allow to cool completely (at least 2 hours, or overnight) in the pan before serving to allow the baklava to soak up the syrup. It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Additonal notes

Recipe taken from Vegan Baking by Dunja Gulin, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£16.99)

Photography by Clare Winfield © Ryland Peters & Small

“If you still haven’t heard of this dessert of Turkish origin, you are missing out! Baklava is one of those really sweet desserts that you can’t eat a lot of. It’s a bit of work to make it, but it can be made in advance and requires only four basic ingredients: filo sheets, nuts, sweetener and oil. This allows you to play with different types of nuts and sweeteners and create your favourite baklava without fear of messing up.”

'Vegan Baking' front cover

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