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Baklava – A Rich Tradition

I have always loved Baklava.  The combination of crunchy and gooey sweetness combined with the richness from the chopped nuts…Yum!  It’s one of my favorite treats on a cool day.  Walking into the kitchen while it’s baking, smelling the sweet aromas, it makes my mind wander to the streets of a quaint Turkish village.  I hadn’t researched the history of Baklava, so today I figured there is no time like the present.

baklava Des Moines

Although the history of baklava is not well documented, there is evidence that its current form was developed in the imperial kitchens of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul based on a Central AsianTurkic tradition of layered breads.

The tradition of layered breads by Turkic peoples in Central Asia suggests the “missing link” between the Central Asian folded or layered breads (which did not include nuts) and modern phyllo-based pastries like baklava would be the Azerbaijani dish Bakı pakhlavası, which involves layers of dough and nuts.  The thin phyllo dough used today was probably developed in the kitchens of the Topkapı Palace.

The Sultan presented trays of baklava to the Janissaries every 15th of the month of Ramadan in a ceremonial procession called the Baklava Alayı.  One of the oldest known recipes for a sort of proto-baklava is Güllaç, also found in Turkish cuisine. It consists of layers of phyllo dough that are put one by one in warmed up milk with sugar. It is served with walnut and fresh pomegranate.    -Wikipedia

With all of this rich history of recipe development, it’s no wonder the Baklava we enjoy today is so wonderfully tasty.  Stop into Fresh to try our homemade rolled Baklava…but we have to warn you, you can’t eat just one!

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