Call it a nightingale nest or bracelet, these are light and crispy bite-sized baklavas that are easily addictive. Bulbul Yuvasi can be filled with your favourite nuts or chocolate or spreads. They look so pretty that you would think it is tricky to make, but trust me - these bulbul baklava are so easy to shape and bake.
This month marks 7 years of food blogging and I am happy this space is still alive and kicking. Looking back, I have had spurts of consistency in publishing only to go quiet for weeks after without any new content. How much ever I plan to have a plan, I don't seem to stick to it. Coming months, I will be sitting down and reassessing the purpose of the blog and the strategy to grow it to newer heights. InshaAllah. Wish me luck. 😁
What is bülbül yuvası?
Bulbul Yuvasi is a baklava variation that is popular in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. An Anatolian dessert made with thin filo pastry sheets, Bülbül Yuvası is Turkish for nightingale’s nest and is named for resembling a bird’s nest. They are called by a few different names depending on the region like Asawer El Sit (Lady’s Bracelets), Lady's Naval, Concertina baklava, Accordion baklava, etc.
Unlike the classic baklava where the filo sheets are stacked, here the filo sheets are rolled around a thin rolling pin and shaped to resemble a nest. The hole in the middle is filled with chopped or ground nuts like pistachios or walnuts after they’ve been baked and drenched in syrup.
Baked for love with love.
I picked a pack of frozen filo pastry to make the classic walnut baklava for Eid ul Adha but ended up making half a batch of these Bulbul Yuvasi inspired by Natalies cakes and sweets Asawer El Sit for F's birthday. Her video showed adding nuts before baking them but I chose to add after as per some Turkish recipes. It was my first time working with filo pastry and indeed like many, I learnt my lessons. I made another batch the very next day for our engagement anniversary. Don't judge me for serving the same dessert for both occasions, I had to because I didn't want to trash the remaining thawed filo pastry.
- aromatic syrup: prepared using sugar, water, cardamom, lemon juice, rose water.
- filo pastry leaves: This is the most important ingredient so make sure to use the best quality. I have used frozen filo pastry. Make sure to thaw as per pack instructions. Most brands don't allow to re-freeze once thawed. In case you want to make only half the batch, then place the remaining sheets completely covered in the fridge but use it up within a day or two.
- ghee: Make sure to use melted ghee or you can mix melted butter with some oil.
- fillings: chopped nuts like pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts or cookie butter like biscoff or nut butter like peanut butter or chocolate, kisses, etc.
- dowel: Not an ingredient but a must-have thing to do the rolling. I have tried with wooden skewers and chopsticks. You can also use pencil, straw, etc. Make sure the stick is longer than the cut pastry sheet you are rolling.
- You have to THAW the frozen filo pastry completely and it is best to follow pack instructions and gut.
- Keep the filo sheets fully covered with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying.
- The amount of ghee to brush will depend on the thickness of the rolled filo pastry - more is always better.
I thought my pack of frozen filo pastry was thawed but as soon as I opened the pack, the sheets weren't releasing easily and I ended up tearing a few. Though I covered them with a kitchen cloth, I was not careful and they dried out causing them to break while rolling. And because the sheets wouldn't separate, I rolled two together which was not a bad idea but then they came out undercooked as I missed brushing more ghee on those pieces. Sharing these so you don't make the same mistakes.
I applied all the lessons while making the second batch the very next day for our engagement anniversary. This time I included biscoff too.
How to make
You will be making in this order
A simple syrup flavoured with cardamom. Some bulbul yuvasi recipes call for warm syrup over hot baklava but I chose to go with the cooled syrup over the hot baklava. Warm or cooled syrup, make sure you pour it over the baklavas right out of the oven.
Now, let me show you how easy it is to shape and bake these Bülbül Yuvası baklavas. For the first batch, I used a chopstick and for the second batch, I used a small thin wooden skewer. The size of the rod used will determine the size of the baklava and that will, in turn, depend on how many baking trays you will need. So, I am not specifying the tray size and measurements etc.
As baklavas have a long shelf life (unless you add cream) we had these through the week and one lucky friend got to taste them too. The birthday boy was happy and I was able to capture a candid picture of him enjoying the treat which he forbade me from sharing here. 😉 It doesn't always have to be cake for celebrations!
Bulbul Yuvasi Baklava (Nightingale Nest)
For the Aromatic Sugar Syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 green cardamom
- a squeeze of lemon
- ¼ teaspoon rose water
- ¼ teaspoon orange blossom water optional
For Bulbul Yuvasi Baklava
- 500 grams filo pastry leaves thawed as per pack instructions
- ½ cup melted ghee
- 1 cup finely chopped nuts of choice
Prepare the sugar syrup
- Add the sugar, water, lemon juice and cardamom to a deep saucepot and bring to boil. Do not stir this at any point. Let it boil until all the sugar dissolves.
- Reduce the flame to low and let it simmer for 5 to 8 minutes.
- Switch off and stir in the rose water and orange blossom water, if using.
- Transfer the syrup into a mug to cool completely. You may make this a day ahead and refrigerate.
Shape the baklava
- Open the filo pastry pack and lay the stack flat on the work surface. Use a sharp knife to cut the stack into four equal parts. That is... cut in half and then cut each half into halves. Keep the sheets covered with a lightly damp cloth or kitchen towel to prevent them from drying and breaking. Work on one single sheet at a time and keep the rest well covered. Have a rimmed baking tray ready to place the shaped baklavas.
- Place a filo sheet on the working surface. Brush it lightly with melted ghee. Now, place a thin rod similar to wooden skewers, chopstick, pencil, straw, etc. at the end close to you. Bring an end portion of the sheet over the rod to wrap it and then start rolling the filo loosely making sure to stop an inch away from the other end. (this excess will form the base of the baklava). You must roll loosely else it would be tough to release from the rod.
- Next, place your hands on the ends of the rolled filo and push towards the centre to gather like a frill that resembles an accordion or a concertina. Now, carefully slide the ruffled filo out of the rod from one end. Immediately, join both ends to form a circle making sure the excess ruffled portion forms the base of the piece. Press the joint lightly to adhere, no need to use any flour glue or water. Place the shaped piece on a rimmed baking tray and repeat with the remaining filo sheets. I baked in two batches.
Bake the bracelets
- Preheat the oven at 160℃ with the rack in level 2.
- Arrange the shaped bulbul yuvasi baklavas tightly touching each other so that they don't open up while baking.
- Brush them generously with melted ghee and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. You may have to turn the tray if your oven has hot spots so the pieces are evenly golden.
Drench in syrup
- Remove from the oven and immediately pour the prepared and cooled to room temperature syrup just enough to drench every piece.
Fill the nest
- Fill each piece with crushed nuts of your choice. I chose to fill different things like pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, biscoff spread, and Hershey's hazelnut kisses. Biscoff seemed to be everyone's favourite and I wished I made a batch with only that! Let the baklavas cool completely before you can serve.
Serve and store bulbul yuvasi
- Serve completely cooled baklavas.
- Any leftovers should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container. If you like your baklava cold and chewy then store them in the refrigerator. These can stay on your counter for more than a week but I bet they won't last that long because you and your loved ones would have devoured them in no time!