Turkish Desserts

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Turkish Desserts

Turkish foods. Most popular Turkish desserts, all about Turkish desserts…

There is a nice saying in Turkish language: Tatli yiyelim, tatli konusalim meaning “Eat sweet, talk sweet”. It’s the best to describe the dessert culture in Turkey that offers many different types of Turkish desserts.

Turkish dessert and sweets are not only part of the meal in Turkish culture, but also an offering to the guests visiting homes, celebration food at bayrams (religious festivals) or even a farewell food after a person passed out.

The most popular types of Turkish desserts are:

  • Pastry cooked in the oven and dressed with syrup and crunched dried fruits
  • Thin layers of dough stuffed with dried fruits and cooked in the oven and dressed with syrup
  • Desserts made by cooking milk and cereal
  • Fruit desserts cooked and served with syrup and clotted cream
  • Desserts cooked with flour and sugar like helva desserts

Let’s talk sweet now and start with the list of most popular Turkish desserts you will find on the menus in Istanbul:

  • Asure A kind of pudding that is both associated with a religious holiday and eaten as an everday dessert. It is made with water, sugar, grains such as wheat, chickpeas, beans and rice, and also contains various fresh and dried fruits.
  • Badem Ezmesi Marzipan, a kind of sweet made from crushed almonds, sugar and lemon juice. One of the best places to try badem ezmesi in İstanbul is Meşhur Bebek Badem Ezmesi, which was founded in Bebek in 1904.
  • Baklava Baklava is one of the oldest known Turkish flaky pastry cut into diamond-shape and poured syrup.
  • Gullac One of the most popular Turkish desserts made with starch, milk, rose water and dried fruits. It was called güllü aş (food with rose) during the Ottoman period because the chefs used to add rose water to the dough made with corn starch. The name was mutated as güllaç in time. Güllüoğlu, Saray Muhallebicisi, Sütiş are the best to try güllac.
  • Helva Helva, halvah is a very simple but delicious dessert made from sugar, oil, flour or semolina. Helva is not only a delicious dessert, but it is also a ceremonial food cooked for special occasions such as birth, death, army service, pilgrimage to Mecca etc. Common types of helva are balli helva halvah with honey irmik helvası semolina halvah kasik helvasi spoon helvah pekmezli helva halvah with molasses peynirli helva halvah with cheese saray helvasi palace halvah su helvasi water halvah süt helvasi halvah with milk tahin pekmez helvasi halvah with tahini and molasses un helvasi flour halvah
  • Kazandibi A kind of milk pudding slightly burnt on the bottom. Literally it means “bottom of the kettle”.
  • Kunefe A kind of dessert with cheese and served with syrup. It is usually served after kebab.
  • Lokma A small, round, friedcake in the shape of small balls served with crunched walnut and syrup.
  • Muhallebi Milk pudding, a very simple dessert made of milk, sugar and rice starch. It is cooked plain or with cacao and sakız (mustic).
  • Profiterol A kind of sweet made from cookies with cream topped with chocolate sauce. The best place to try profiterol is Inci Pastanesi in Istiklal Street and Baylan in Kadıköy on the Asian side.
  • Su Muhallebisi Water puding, a kind of very simple dessert made from starch, milk and water. After it is cooked, it is cooled in the fridge. Then the mixture is cut in square and served with rose water and nuts.
  • Sutlac A rice pudding made from rice, milk and sugar. It is served with cinnamon. There is also fırında sütlaç (rice pudding cooked in the oven).
  • Sütlü Nuriye Sütlü Nuriye (Nuriye is a female name) is a kind of baklava dressed with milk instead of sugar syrup. It is believed that it is called Nuriye because it was made by a woman called Nuriye. It is also called ihtilal baklavası (coup baklava) because it was made after 1980 military coup. Therefore, people used milk instead of sugar as it is cheaper considering the economical situation then.
  • Tavukgögsü Chicken breast pudding is a kind of dessert made of milk, sugar, cracked rice, and chicken breast served with cinnamon.
  • Lokum Lokum, Turkish delight is no doubt the most famous Turkish delight. Common types of lokum are sade lokum plain lokum güllü lokum lokum with rose water cevizli lokum lokum with walnut findikli lokum lokum with hazel nut Antep fistikli lokum lokum with pistachio bademli lokum lokum wih almond limonlu lokum lokum with lemon
  • Zambo, Beyoglu Cikolatasi Zambo is popular chocolate with nuts sold in a büfe in İstiklal Caddesi since 1950’s.
  • Zerde Zerde is a kind of rice pudding coloured with saffron and dressed with currant, pistachio or rose water.

Where to eat Turkish Desserts

Here is the list of most famous places to eat Turkish desserts:

  • Baylan, Patisserie Baylan is a famous patisserie in Kadıköy on the Asian side, serving Istanbulians since 1923. Baylan was first founded in Beyoğlu in 1923 by Filip Lenas who emigrated from Albania to Istanbul
  • Beyaz Firin, Patisserie Beyaz Firin is a famous patisseire founded by Stoyanof family in Kadıköy on the Asian side in the 19th century. Adventure of Beyaz Fırın started with George Stoyanof who emigrated from Macedonia and opened a simit bakery in Balat on the European side
  • Saray Muhallebicisi, Restaurant Saray Muhallebicisi is a popular restaurant where you can have fastfood, desserts, breakfast, lunch or dinner. www.saraymuhallebicisi.com
  • Sütis, Restaurant Sütis is a popular restaurant where you can have fastfood, desserts, breakfast, lunch or dinner. www.sutis.com.tr
  • Haci Bekir, Father of Turkish delight A world-wide famous Turkish sweet shop. From the time of its founding during the Ottoman Empire, the name Hacı Bekir has become a legend in Ottoman and Turkish confectionery and a leading symbol of this art

Dictionary of Turkish Desserts

Asure See above Ayva tatlisi Quince dessert with syrup Baklava See above Burma A pastry with pistacio and syrup Bülbül yuvasi Nightingale’s nest, a dessert with dried fruit and syrup Dilber dudagi Belle’s lips, a dessert with dried fruit and syrup Ekmek kadayifi Bread dessert, a dessert with syrup and served with clotted cream Firinda sütlac Rice pudding cooked in the oven Güllac See above Hanim göbegi Lady’s belly, a dessert with syrup Incir tatlisi Fig dessert Irmik helvasi See above Kabak tatlisi Pumpkin dessert Kadayif A pastry dessert with a texture similar to that of shredded wheat served syrup Kadayif dolmasi A dessert with dried fruits and syrup Kayisi dolmasi Stuffed apricot with dried fruit or clotted cream Kazandibi See above Kemalpasa tatlisi A dessert with syrup Keskül A milk pudding with coconut Künefe A pastry with cheese and syrup Lokma A syrupy friedcake Lokum Turkish delight, see above Profiterol See above Revani A kind of cake with syrup Sakizli muhallebi A pudding with mastic Su muhallebisi See above Sütlac Rice pudding Sütlü Nuriye Nuriye (a female name) with milk, see above Sekerpare A desset with syrup Söbiyet A dessert with syrup Tavukgogsu Chickenbreast, see above Tulumba A syrup-soaked pastry Vezir parmagi Vizier’s finger, a dessert with syrup Zerde A dessert with saffron

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