Desserts - Turkish Delights and Delicacies
Names like Nest of Nightingale, Women's Navel and Lips of the Beautiful Darling show the Turkish passion for desserts. There is a more than rich variety of different sized pastahane (pastry shop), which seem to be bursting with as many gluey, sweet dishes as you could imagine.
Milk, honey, eggs and puff pastry are the main ingredients of these Turkish delights. The most well known ones are the really sweet puff pastry dishes called baklava and kadayif.
Your palate will enjoy sweet dreams.
Puff pastry: to bake kadayif you need to have long, thin leaves of pastry and a mixture of honey and ground hazelnut which is layered onto the pastry and then formed into rolls.
Baklava should be bought in a pastahane, because only the confectioner knows how to make these gluey, molasses-covered pieces of walnut puff pastry called baklava properly.
Diber Dudagi (Lips of the Beautiful) are small, oval puff-pastry pieces, the middle of which are open and show the ingredients inside - small pieces of pistachio.
Milky pudding and jelly: The classical Turkish milk pudding is called muhallebi (made from rice with cinnamon, sometimes mixed into a fudge with rosewater) and keskül (a mixture made from milk, ground almonds and pistachio, decorated with dried coconut and pistachio).
Asure is the classical jelly dessert: It consists of a rosewater jelly with chickpeas, dried beans, walnut, pistachio, raisins, dried apricots and figs. If Turkish people use dried fruit for desserts, they usually prefer quince, strawberry- and apricot jelly, pumpkin with nuts and banana rice pudding.
Certainly the most well-known dessert is Turkish Delight (lokum) made from caramelized sugar and pectin with rosewater, lemon and pistachio and covered with powdered sugar.
The Pudding of Noah: Asure is the dish with which the Dervishes finish their ten days of fasting in the Islamic month of muharram. This dessert should include 40 different ingredients ? based on the belief that, after 40 days and nights on the ark, Noah gave the order to collect all the food left on board to make a minestrone mixture to celebrate the end of the Flood. Today you can buy packages of pre-prepared asure mixture at the big super markets, but they now mainly just consist of 20 different ingredients (like dried fruit, nuts, spices).