10 Turkish Desserts You Need to Try
You're sure to find a syrupy morsel made for your sweet tooth in the bakeries and pastry shops of Türkiye!
Are you ready to get the ultimate craving? Here comes a list of sweet, syrupy Turkish desserts to add to your list.
The Turkish cuisine has its own Kadayıf culture. Kadayıf can be served on special days like Bayrams. It makes an excellent accompaniment to Turkish coffee and tea.
Ekmek Kadayıfı is made from a biscuit-like bread sweetened with syrup. It is traditionally topped with kaymak or Turkish clotted cream which helps saturate the sugar rush though the serving might change from restaurant to restaurant. Another variation of Kadayıf in Turkish cuisine is Tel Kadayıf.
Tel Kadayıfı is made from noddle-like shredded wheat (tel kadayıf as it is used in Turkish) saturated in sugar- or honey-based syrup.“Tel” means wire in Turkish, and that’s why the word has been used for the thin slices of wheat. The dessert is topped and layered with pistachios or walnuts depending on preference.
A syrupy cousin of ekmek kadayıfı, künefe is a luscious and crispy dessert made from tel kadayıfı. Unlike other types of kadayıf, this chewy classic includes a layer of soft white cheese that makes it crispy on the outside but soft and creamy on the inside. It is served hot from the oven so the cheese remains stringy.
The dessert is originally a local delight of Antakya, Hatay, and its best variations can therefore be found there. The region even produces its own künefe cheese, which contains no salt and is nowhere to be found outside Türkiye.
But beware: This soft texture can be addictive!
Ayva tatlısı is a winter dessert from Türkiye made from quinces poached in sugar and water. It’s sweetened with spices such as cloves and cinnamon. It’s usually served with clotted cream or kaymak, and can be sprinkled with walnuts or pistachios depending on preference.
Baklava is made of layers of filo dough filled with chopped walnuts or pistachios and soaked in syrup or honey. Just like other syrupy Turkish desserts, the crunchy feel makes this Turkish classic a textural wonder.
Baklava has many variations that differ in their fillings, syrups or dough – or maybe even all of them. Bülbül yuvası, sütlü nuriye, şöbiyet, and dilber dudağı are some of these. If the syrupy taste is too heavy for you, you might want to try sütlü nuriye which is sweetened with milk.
Tulumba is basically fried dough soaked in syrup. Lokma and halka are pretty much the same dessert, they only differ in the shape they are made. Be sure to visit a Turkish pastry shop to try them!
Ready to discover other Turkish desserts that aren’t drenched in syrup or honey? Here they are.
You can’t talk about dessert in Türkiye without mentioning this Turkish version of rice pudding!
Fırın Sütlaç is a milk-based delicacy that is very similar to rice pudding. Like most other rice sweets, its basic ingredients are rice, sugar, rice flour and milk. Baked in a clay mold, it is a lighter dessert than the rest of the popular Turkish desserts most of which are soaked in honey or sugar-based syrup.
There’s another variation of this dessert which is cooked rather than baked though this one is slightly more famed.
Kazandibi is a caramelized milk pudding with the top made darker than the rest.
The name “Kazandibi” means the “bottom of the cauldron.” Believe it or not, its top is intentionally burnt!
Tavuk Göğsü is a Turkish milk pudding sprinkled with a pinch of cinnamon. It contains chicken meat that is washed several times and finely shredded. But it loses its smell and taste and gives the dessert a stretchy texture in the course of preparation.
Try this at home, hide the shreds of chicken in this sweet roll, and get your kids to eat their meat. See, this chicken breast pudding is even more convenient than any other dessert could ever be. (Not to mention its incomparable taste…)
Aşure or ashura is not a year-round dessert and is prepared only during certain times of the year which are specified according to the Islamic calendar. The traditional ingredients for this dish are grains, dried fruits and sugar, although they can vary. Over the years, the dessert has become a symbol of sharing as it is common for people to deliver it to your doorstep to celebrate the holy month of Muharram and the day of Aşure (Ashura) together.
Originating from the Middle East, Helva or Halva has become a part of the Turkish cuisine. It is essentially a sweet, delicious block, the most famous variety of which is tahin helvası, made from sesame paste.
Other types include semolina halva, flour halva, and kağıt halva. Be sure to try kağıt halva, by making an ice cream sandwich out of its two layers.