milk tea baklawa (baklava)

5 from 1 review


for the baklawa:

  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 16 ounces chopped walnuts, about 4 cups (454 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (7 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom (2 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces filo dough sheets (454 grams)
  • 6.25 ounces hot melted clarified butter (177 grams, or 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons by volume)*

for the milk tea syrup:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 tea bags of black tea
  • Two 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk (2 397-gram cans)


  1. Bake the baklawa: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C convection**, and grease a rimmed sheet pan.
  2. Combine the walnuts, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt.
  3. Make sure you have all your ingredients (including the clarified butter) ready before you open the filo dough. Place half of the filo dough on the sheet pan, spread the walnut mixture evenly over the filo dough, and place the rest of the filo dough on top of the walnut mixture.
  4. Cut the baklawa into diamonds by slicing straight across in the short direction, then diagonally (see photos in my original baklawa post). It’s best to work with a very sharp knife so that you don’t tear, stretch, or dishevel the filo. It’s alright if a few of the pieces go a little awry, but you want everything to stay pretty lined up.
  5. Slowly and evenly drizzle the hot clarified butter over the sliced baklawa.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes, until it has lightly browned.
  7. Make the syrup while you wait (make sure the syrup is hot right before the baklawa comes out of the oven, and rewarm it if necessary***): Bring the water to a simmer in a small saucepan over high heat. As soon as it starts to simmer, immediately add the tea bags, remove from heat, and let them steep for 2 minutes.
  8. Once steeped, add the sweetened condensed milk, stir everything together, and bring up to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. As soon as it starts to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t scorch. Remove from heat, let the bags continue to steep, and discard them when you’re ready to use the syrup. It’s ok if one or two of them leaks a little, but be gentle so they don’t burst open.
  9. As soon as the baklawa comes out of the oven, slowly pour the hot syrup over the surface. It’s ok if a little bit runs off to the side. It will pool a little at first, but as long as the syrup and baklawa are hot, it will sink in after a couple minutes.
  10. Let it sit until it comes to room temperature, at least 2 hours, cut through the lines you made before baking, and then serve. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or the freezer for up to 3 months. It’s even better the next day.


* Clarified butter is really easy to make, and I’ve got a recipe and video here. This amount of clarified butter comes from about 8 ounces / 227 grams sweet cream butter (which is conveniently the amount in my clarified butter recipe).
** If you don’t have convection, no worries—you might need to slightly increase the temperature and/or bake it for slightly longer. If your convection fan is particularly strong, you might want to bake without convection, otherwise the pieces of filo might go flying. I’ve only had this problem baking in commercial kitchens, and most home ovens won’t actually blow things around.
*** The syrup will be much more pourable when warm, and it will more easily soak through the layers of filo. Usually, chilled or room temperature syrup is poured over baklawa, but this milk tea syrup works better when warm. Feel free to look at the above photos to get a sense of the consistency the syrup should be as it pours.

Note: If you have any leftover baklawa, you can freeze it and turn it into baklawa frozen yogurt.