Baklava is a delectable treat that is a part of Levant cuisine and also other parts of the Middle East, such as in the Balkans, Caucasus and also parts of Central Asia. The dessert is said to originate from the Ottoman Empire period, and the name ‘baklava’ does have some Turkish origins in it.
Historians have also demonstrated that the baklava can be likened to the Roman placenta cake, during the Roman times but it is combined with some essences of Byzantine cuisine and Central Asian way of making layered-cake.
What is Baklava?
The baklava is a pastry dish that is commonly served as a dessert during a meal. By appearance, the baklava is a layered pastry with fillings that are baked to a crispy brown colour. It is made out of phyllo dough, butter, sugar and nuts. Once it is baked, honey syrup or rose water will be poured all over it to be absorbed within the layers of the pastry and enhances the sweet flavours of the baklava.
History of Baklava
The history of baklava is one filled with controversy as its true origin is still relatively unknown, due to lack of proper documentation. Not only that, many ethnic groups that have tried to declare the baklava as part of their own culture and cuisine, which includes the Greeks, Turkish and various other ethnic groups in some parts of the Middle East.
Today, many places have their own form of baklava that is prepared in a unique way and is heavily influenced by their own respective culture.The baklava has undergone many historical changes throughout time, due to the rise and fall of civilisations and also other factors.
Modern-day places such as Bulgaria, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon and many more have since made their own versions of baklava, as these countries were once heavily involved with the Ottoman Empire by either being part of it or through vassalage.
With that said, there is without a doubt that the Ottomans of the Ottoman Empire have honed and popularised the baklava, during the 15th century to what it is today. During the Ottoman Empire period, the baklava was a dessert afforded only by the rich and opulent. The delicacy was a staple food within the Ottoman society and occasionally, the Sultan will serve the baklava to the Janissaries during Ramadan.
Types of Baklava
With the long history of baklava, there are a lot of variations of baklava due to its popularity across the Middle East. In Turkey, the baklava is filled with delicious pistachios to add a little crunch into the sweet pastry.
Moreover, the kuru baklava is a dry version of the original baklava, without the sweet syrup, which is perfect for those that do not particularly indulge in sweet desserts.The bülbül baklava, which is interpreted as the ‘nightingale’s nest’ due to its appearance of the baklava with a sunken interior and circular shape.
The texture is tougher than your average baklava, and it is more filling in your belly. There exists a baklava roll that is purely made out of sugar and pistachio, without the phyllo dough to dampen the sweetness of the pastry compared to the original baklava. A wetter version of the original baklava is called the Sütlü Nuriye, which is doused in milk to create a more decadent experience compared to the original baklava.
Where to find Baklava in Malaysia
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