June 6, 2012

Istanbul. October, 2011

I thought I knew what baklava was. Then I visited Turkey. In addition to the standard baklava “diamonds” of layered filo dough, butter, nuts and sweet syrup, I found dozens of other varieties that dazzled both eye and palette. Some sweetened with honey, some with sugar syrup. Rolls of pale green filo filled with ground pistachios then cut sushi-style to create thick disks of delight. Nests of shredded dough encircling hazelnut centers. Even chocolate baklava, somewhat less sweet than you would imagine. Regional varieties whose recipes are guarded and treasured. And some that are only produced for certain religious holidays. Here, acem gülü, open turnovers of filo with a dense filling of pistachios. So little time.

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