Homemade Turkish Food Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire, but is also found in Central and Southwest Asia.
Baklava is normally prepared in large pans. Many layers of phyllo dough, separated with melted butter, are laid in the pan. A layer of chopped nuts—typically walnuts or pistachios, but hazelnuts are also sometimes used—is placed on top, then more layers of phyllo. Most recipes have multiple layers of phyllo and nuts, though some have only top and bottom pastry.
Before baking, the dough is cut into regular pieces, often parallelograms (lozenge-shaped), triangles, or rectangles.
A syrup, which may include honey, rosewater, or orange flower water is poured over the cooked baklava and allowed to soak in.
Baklava is usually served at room temperature, often garnished with ground nuts.
In Turkey, baklava traditionally is made by filling between the layers of dough with pistachios, walnuts, almonds (parts of the Aegean Region) or a special preparation called “kaymak” (not to confuse with kaymak). In the Black Sea Region hazelnuts are commonly used as a filling for baklava. The city of Gaziantep in southeast Turkey is famous for its pistachio baklava and regarded there as its native city, though it only appears to have been introduced to Gaziantep from Damascus in 1871. In 2008, the Turkish patent office registered a geographical indication for Antep Baklava, and in 2013, Antep Baklavası or Gaziantep Baklavası was registered as a Protected Geographical Indication by the European Commission.
In many parts of Turkey, baklava is often topped with kaymak or, in the summer, ice cream (milk cream flavor, called “kaymaklı dondurma”).
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