It changed into early one morning in Istanbul when I learned to love the baklava. Having usually sampled rubbery, tasteless or overly sugary concoctions across the world, i was a lapsed lover of the candy, finding it tough to pay right money and feature my sweet teeth dissatisfied yet again. however right here i was in Turkey, home of the baklava. The pleasant Gaziantep baklava was placed by way of none apart from the european Union on its list of covered designations of beginning and geographical indications. it is the primary Turkish product and the 16th non eu Union food item to make it to the listing. So that is pretty an honour in itself. I digress, back to Istanbul. here i was, sampling pide and börek and doner and tea and espresso and lots of scrumptious little fish with bread (balik ekmek), however no longer one flaky morsel of candy had touched my lips. until my decided Turkish friend decided that sufficient was enough and took matters into his own hands. He woke me on the unearthly hour of six thirty one morning and dragged me to a most cheesy searching restaurant, a dash faraway from the Bosphorus. This was Karaköy Güllüoğlu, a name I did now not even try to pronounce. by no means a morning individual, I grumbled about the hour, the journey, the decor, the group. this is, until my lengthy-suffering friend located 3 pieces of baklava on one of the excessive tables nearby. “cross on”, he urged. “flavor it. I guess you may not be able to stop at just one”. Of path I scoffed, but reader, you realize higher than I what took place subsequent. I have become a baklava believer. Güllüoğlu had made a convert of me.
Baklava may be a standalone object, and now not always the after meal candy it is made out to be some place else. which is why, each morning, a satisfied crowd would throng the faux-Ottoman styled Karaköy Güllüoğlu for its morning baklava, organized and served sparkling. This become now not the maximum Instagrammable baklava I had ever seen however it changed into without a doubt the maximum delicious. The mild, flaky layers of golden filo pastry (and there have been such a lot of layers) have been studded with walnuts (or pistachios), and it was all dunked in a candy syrup which oozed onto my fingers and into my coronary heart. The baklava had no time to get soggy and my plate become empty in no time.My buddy informed me that in his residence, the usual cease to a meal changed into a bowl heaped with fruit. sweets and pastries, like baklava, were usually made on festive events or to serve to visitors handiest. His own family recipe for the filo pastry turned into furiously guarded and not even his fiancee changed into allowed a whiff of it. That czarina of meals, Claudia Roden, writes in her book, a center eastern feast, that “The sweet pastries, desserts, jams and preserves, which have given the place its recognition for a candy enamel, are made to mark special occasions and for interesting guests. they may be symbols of generosity and friendship, happiness, rejoicing and success. portions are made often and saved away, prepared for the casual caller and the unexpected friend”. And so, it is going at my buddy’s residence too.
How can one resist a pastry with such captivating history? it is not possible, that is why I provide to you, (my version of) Hebeeb Salloum’s recipe from The Arabian Nights Cookbook, one that i have used time and again, with first-rate achievement.ingredients:250g walnuts, chopped225g sugar450g unsalted butter, melted1 tsp floor cinnamon1 tbsp Orange blossom water (i take advantage of honey and rose water)Unsalted butter or ghee for the pan100g packaged filo dough, thawedMethod:1. Preheat the oven to 2 hundred C.2. For the nut aggregate, combine the walnuts, sugar, 4 tbsp of butter, cinnamon and rose water in a mixing bowl. Liberally grease a baking pan with ghee or butter and maintain apart.three. gently area one sheet of filo on the pan. Brush butter on pinnacle, then retain layering for six sheets of filo pastry.four. add a layer of nuts, spreading lightly with your hand so that you have a fairly even, skinny layer.5. add some other layer of filo pastry by setting a sheet on pinnacle of the nuts and brush with melted butter. Repeat the whole step, layering 4 extra sheets in all.6. upload the next layer of nuts over the filo. subsequently, lay a filo sheet on top of the nut layer and brush again with butter. Now add some other six extra filo sheets, sandwiched properly with butter (as above).7. Chop the entirety as soon as assembled, into chunk size portions and bake for about three quarters of an hour. ensure you have got a totally sharp knife to cut it, else it’s going to disintegrate.eight. as soon as baked, pour the honey or rose water on top of the baklava. you may garnish with chopped nuts if you want. i like ingesting it proper away however baklava remains for ten days, or maybe weeks.
it’s miles now typically general as a reality that baklava become the paintings of a few genius Ottoman chefs. certainly, there was no mention of the dish at any time earlier than the Turkish empire. Alan Davidson, within the Oxford associate to meals, writes that “there is an established connection among the Topkapi Palace kitchens and baklava; on the fifteenth day of Ramadan each 12 months, the Janissary troops stationed in Istanbul, used to march to the palace, wherein each regiment turned into offered with trays of baklava. They could sling the trays in sheets of cloth from a pole and march lower back to their barracks carrying the baklava in what became known as the Baklava Procession. before the first world battle, it turned into commonplace for the terrific houses of Istanbul to preserve two filo makers; one to make the filo for baklava and the other to make the stronger filo for borek”.
approximately the writer: Meher Mirza is an unbiased creator and editor, with a focal point on food and travel. formerly with BBC proper food India, she loves anime, animals and artsy matters however also comics, generation and demise metallic.