Is yoghurt Greek or Turkish? The same old story goes with baklava too and it has even more claimers. Every ethnic group around Middle East has a claim of their own on this delicious pastry. But wait, it could be said that the Ottoman Empire’s wide reach across its dominions in the Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean, Balkans and Caucasia could be the reason why various cultures call baklava their own dessert.Baklava took on quite the elaborate forms during the Ottoman period, with written evidence in the Topkapı Palace kitchen notebooks beginning in 1473.
It is one of the hardest desserts for chefs and the key point is to make the thinnest bread dough on earth. In the Ottoman Palaces skilled cooks were expected to fit 100 thin pieces into the tray when making their perfect baklava.
A Dessert of the Sultans
A dessert of the sultans, baklava became synonymous with wealth and sophistication as well as a state tradition. In the late 17th century, the baklava parade began to take place where the empire’s soldiers were treated to the decadent dessert during the big feast of the Ramazan holiday.
The procession of baklava trays being carried from to the barracks became a parade, with a long march cheered on by the people of Istanbul.
If a gold coin dropped from half a meter in the air perpendicularly didn’t go through the dough and reach the bottom of the tray, it was sent back.
We Represent Taste
Today, baklava is no longer only a dessert for the rich, having become a ubiquitous gift for every kind of celebration. In Turkey, every birth, visit, wedding, graduation or funeral is accompanied by boxes of baklava, the most famous of which is from the city of Gaziantep, known for its excellent pistachios (baklava’s favorite filling).