Most Popular Turkish desserts
Sweets and other delicacies from Turkish cuisine :
Among all the diversity and culinary richness you will find during your stay you cannot miss out on Turkish desserts.
In Turkey desserts and sweets are often eaten outside meals, at the time of the snack accompanied by a tea or a coffee (Turkish Of course). As with many dishes, most Turkish desserts can be found in the other countries of the region ( Greece, Balkan countries, Armenia, Lebanon, or even Israel and Syria) due to a common Byzantine and Ottoman past.
You probably already know the famous baklavas and the loukoums and for some the Kunefe, but you will see that Turkish cuisine also offers surprising desserts, with pumpkin, cheese and even chicken white.
Whether you like it or not, Turkish desserts are worth a visit and will not leave you indifferent. Here is a small list with an overview of the desserts that you will see in the showcases or the menus of the restaurants stambouliotes :
This is by far the most famous Turkish dessert. Its origins date back to the Byzantine Empire, although its present form and recipe developed during the Ottoman Empire.
Baklava is a little bit of a thousand-leaf phyllo paste (yufka in Turkish). In Turkey it is traditionally prepared by stuffing pistachios, nuts, or more rarely almonds or hazelnuts between layers of leaves of yufka. The town of Gaziantep in southeast Turkey is famous for its pistachio baklavas and considers itself the birthplace of this met. In 2013, Gaziantep baklva was the first Turkish product to be certified by a Quality label awarded by the European Commission.
Although it is found everywhere, it is a very difficult dessert to make, the taste of which finds its quintessence when fresh.
Künefe is a cake that is traditionally eaten in the restaurants of kebab, one finds little in the pastries, because it is a dessert that can be eaten hot. Originally from southern Turkey, it is made from angel hair, a Turkish cheese called dil peynir (the local version of mozzarella) butter and sugar syrup. We strongly advise you to taste it while drinking tea.
The Turkish delights
Comme for the baklava, it is a confectionery known worldwide and widespread throughout the Eastern Mediterranean basin, but it was in Istanbul that it was invented in 1776 by the confectioner Hacı Bekir.
Known at first as “Rahat lokum”, meaning “rest of the throat” in Turkish, because these moist bites were pleasant to chew, loukoum is made from corn starch, sugar and fruit or dried fruit pastes. It was a present common among the ladies of high society during their afternoon tea and pastries. The loukoums were also used as proofs of love by couples.
This confectionery made Haci Bekir and his shop ( which still exists in the Eminönü district) very happy and successful. He was appointed chief confectioner in the Court of Sultan Mahmoud II.
Today it can be found everywhere in the tourist district of Sultanahmet and especially in the Egyptian Bazaar but we recommend you to prefer small shops offering only lokums in less tourist areas because they are made without sweeteners, artificial and conservative tastes.
It is one of the most popular desserts in Turkey, its originality lies in the fact that it is a kind of pudding made from white chicken, rice, milk, sugar and cinnamon. Chicken göğsü means chicken in Turkish.
Legend has it that one night the sultan would have had a small snack for something sweet and that the cooks of the palate in panic (because there were not enough ingredients left to make a pastry) would have had the idea of using chicken whites to create this unusual dessert.
In fact tavuk göğsü is very similar to blancmange, an English dessert from the Middle Ages.
Even if it may seem unappetizing we advise you to taste one during your stay in Istanbul, you will be surprised!