Traveling is way more fun when you are interested in trying out various foods belonging to different cultures and societies. And when it comes to desserts, almost no one can resist the temptation. When we say Turkish desserts, we truly talk about a culinary feast that came into life thanks to many experienced chefs and cooks specialized in traditional desserts.
For hundreds of years, Turkish desserts have been a favorite way to celebrate important events as part of society’s culture. You can always encounter a dessert cooking ceremony as it may be a wedding and religious holidays or even funeral houses.
Many desserts that have survived to this day have their roots back when Ottoman Empire ruled the country. Ottoman sultans considered the Palace’s cuisine with great importance. With all the great variety of spices and carefully selected meats and herbs, Sultan’s tables had a unique feature that you wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else during that time. Of course, the delicious desserts took their share from this diligence.
This list could go to eternity, but we will keep it pretty essential for dessert lovers who plan to travel to Turkey.
First and foremost is definitely baklava which is the most famous Turkish dessert. The name baklava is thought to come from the old Turkish word “baglamak” which means tying or rolling in together. Although it is not tied to anything by any means, the baklava dough is always turned into paper-thin by using a long and thin wood kitchen roller. It requires great skills to optimize the thickness since the average number of layers for a tray of baklava is around 40. You can find baklava anywhere you go in Turkey, but if you want an authentic experience, we recommend you to visit Gaziantep, which is the best city to enjoy a fresh and crispy serve of baklava with pistachios inside.
Another delicious Turkish dessert on the list is kunefe which, similarly to baklava, is also prepared by pouring hot sugar syrup on it before serving. But unlike walnuts or pistachios, it has cheese in it. This cheese is made explicitly for kunefe and is not salty. It is perfectly combined with kadayif pieces that serve as a dough base for the dessert. We recommend you eat it straight out from the serving tray when it is still hot.
Sutlac is mainly a milky dessert that has a similar compound to pudding. However, unusually it is made with rice. It may sound totally strange at first, but giving how it is cooked, you will probably love it. For the most part, sutlac is cooked in serving pots and in the oven until its surface looks like a famous French dessert crème brûlée when it is slightly burnt. Some places also put minced hazelnut on top to give it a nice crunch.
There are so many great flavors of ice cream that you have probably tried before, but the Turkish ice cream made with expensive salep powder is not like any other. Salep or sahlep is actually a plant from the orchid family, but it is sold at very high prices for the smallest portions since it is not found in many areas. What gives Turkish ice cream its thick texture and smell is this salep ingredient. This ice cream originally was invented in Maras, a city in the east of the Mediterranean region, and is eaten by using a knife and fork since it is extremely thick at first. If you can’t make it to Maras, don’t worry. There are always street vendors who also sell it in cones nearly in every city in Turkey.