Snacks a love hate relationship the Turkish style. Turkey is a nation straddling eastern Europe and western Asia with cultural connections to ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Turkey is not only a historic country with cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, Izmir and Mardin. Perfect beaches. High mountain peaks. It has a cultural heritage and it is a cheap country to travel to with the oldest and biggest malls. Turkey is also known for its blue mosque, underground railway, ceramics, textiles and cuisine. Please comment below to let us know what you think.
Helva is a group of sweets found in Turkey and throughout the Balkans and the Middle East. In modern Turkish cuisine, there are two kinds of helva. (It is also known as halva, halvas, and halwa in other parts of the Arab world.)
The first is the dessert type made with a starch base, sugar and butter and other ingredients like nuts and flavorings. Turkish flour helva and semolina helva are served as desserts and on special occasions.
In Turkey, dessert is often a social ritual, a course meant to be shared. At any time of day or night, friends can be found congregating to sip Turkish coffee or tea from dainty glasses, and should you care to accompany that beverage with a roll, pastry, or snack, there’s much to choose from. Baklava is just the tip of the iceberg—on a recent trip to Istanbul, I fell in love with the country’s vast range of desserts, while developing a far deeper understanding of the Turkish sweet tooth. So here’s a look at some of the most popular desserts you’ll find.
Baklava was just as ubiquitous as I’d anticipated, though not all brands are created equal. It’s always best eaten fresh (I certainly wouldn’t recommend “saving it for later”—believe me, I tried!) and thankfully it’s socially acceptable to devour it for breakfast, fresh out of the oven.
Apricots stuffed with cream and sprinkled with toasted flaked almonds
Revani is a cake with syrup. It is a common dessert. It is prepared with semolina, the finer the better. Although it does contain considerable amount of sugar, it doesn’t have any butter, so we can call it “light”. I am one of those lucky people don’t have a sweet-tooth and even I like a slice of revani occasionally.
Kunafa is a well-known Arabic dessert. It is a syrup soaked cheese pastry. Some say it dates back to the Ottoman Empire, others say its origin is from Turkey, Palestine, Egypt, or Greece ( see the editor’s note below ). So, whatever it’s true origin, it is a favorite of many regions. Most languages in the Mediterranean and Middle East have a name for this dessert whether that be Kanafeh, Kanafe, Knafeh, Knafe, Kunafa, or Kunafah. Traditionally made from extra thin noodles of semolina flour, the Katafi we use in the recipe is a shredded phyllo dough that crisps up well and drinks in the heavy syrup much like a baklava.
If you’re anything like us, the first thing you think of when you hear “Turkish delight” is Edmund, the jerky younger brother from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe who’s plied with Turkish delight by the evil White Queen. We never really had this candy growing up, and so it has a bit of a magical association.
There are many shapes and sizes of borek, excellent pastries which are found anywhere that was occupied by the Ottoman Empire but particularly, Turkey. Recipes vary by region but I favour this snail shape, filled with seasonal greens and white cheese. It’s common to find spinach filling this style but here I’ve used cavolo nero which makes a fantastic variation – the rich, iron-y flavour works so well with the salty cheese.
Tulumba is a Turkish dessert which is one of the most eaten sweets in Turkey and I must share it with you! Let me start with its name. Tulumba means pump, but I don’t have any idea why this popular Turkish dessert is called with this name. It could be because of the method it is made. Also it is squeezed through a piping bag with a star nozzle, you know we have water through force pumps with some effort. Just a guess! It is just another Turkish dessert with a weird name!
Simit is a popular bread in Turkey. Having simit at breakfast with feta cheese and slices of olives transforms your breakfast to sophisticated and royal like a meal.
The combination of simit, olives, and feta cheese is just out of this world, but simit tastes oh so good on its own, or with jam. Although it doesn’t taste like a croissant but you can have it the way you like to have your croissant except with lesser calories.
Fun-sized cake? Hell yeah!
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