Dreaming of heading to Turkey? Us too. Turkey is an incredible destination but not just for the views and culture but for the cuisine and more specifically, the desserts! The vast array of sweets you can find here are truly incredible and the unique flavours and textures will have you hooked. Here in North America, we tend to shy away from desserts because they’re thought to be heavy but not in Turkey. Turkish desserts are known for their sweetness and surprising lightness. The desserts you’ll find in Turkey are steeped in cultural tradition and are influenced by Arabic and European traditions as well as those from Ottoman times and the even older Turk tribes.
All in all, taste-testing these Turkish desserts will be the most delicious history lesson of your life so dig in and try them all the next time you’re there!
Perhaps one of the most notable of Turkish desserts is baklava. Layers of crispy phyllo pastry and delicious pistachios are seeped in yummy syrup or honey. The result is everything you’ll ever want in a dessert: sweetness, texture, and tantalizing stickiness.
This Turkish rice pudding, known as Firinda Sutlac is a fave among locals and it’s super simple to make. Turkey is famous for its milk-based desserts and Firinda Sutlac is one of the top ones. In addition to being delicious and satisfying, you can customize it however you like with different garnishes. Dot yours with chopped pistachios, walnuts, or even dried fruit for extra flavour.
Ultra-sweet and syrupy, Tulumba Tatlısı is similar to doughnuts in that it’s made from sweet, fried dough. However, these little morsels are incredibly light and fresh because the dough is made with semolina and corn starch and the syrup is traditionally flavoured with lemon.
Another well-known Turkish treat are Turkish delights. These jelly-like confections might seem unusual but once you pop one of these little morsels into your mouth, you’ll be hooked on them for good. You can find them in a variety of different flavours: rosewater, lemon, pistachio, and more. The squares are traditionally dusted in icing sugar, cream of tartar or copra (dried coconut meat) to avoid sticking.
It’s likely that on your trip to Turkey you’ll come face to face with a variety of Helva flavours to sample. Made from ground sesame (tahini), and sugar, it’s truly delectable and you can find it mixed with nuts, dried fruits or cocoa. While helva may be a sweet confection, it’s actually quite high in protein, calcium, vitamin E, and phosphate and like other nut butters, it provides lots of energy.
Before you make up your mind about this dessert, just wait until you take a bite. This traditional confection consists of phyllo layers and sweet syrup all layered with cheese. It’s extremely popular in the Arab pockets of the world but there are variants found in Turkey, Greece, and the Balkans.