For most people, baklava and Turkish delight are the only traditional Turkish desserts or sweets they know. But, the rich cuisine of Turkey has much more to offer. From milk deserts that melt in your mouth to deep-fried snacks and syrupy fruits, here are 11 traditional Turkish desserts you absolutely need to try.
Traditional Turkish Desserts That Aren’t Baklava
Made with almond dough, these little Turkish cakes are soaked in hot sugar syrup until cold, when they become melt-in-your-mouth crumbly.
One of Turkey’s most popular milk-based desserts, this rice flour pudding is often covered with grated pistachios.
3. Tavuk Göğsü
Considered a ‘signature’ dish of Turkey, the traditional version of this pudding is made with thinly sliced chicken breast, creating something like blancmange. Modern versions use a fine powder instead. Kazandibi is a similar thick pudding minus the chicken.
Composed of two layers of crunchy pastry (kadayıf) filled with melted cheese and soaked in sweet syrup, this is a speciality of the Antakya region.
Popularly called Noah’s Pudding, it is made with grains, fruits, dried fruits, and nuts, is one of the few vegan Turkish desserts. It is usually enjoyed during Muharram.
Made by blending flour roasted in butter and sugar, it is then pulled into fine strands. Like many other sweets, it is often garnished with ground pistachio nuts. Often compared to cotton candy, it is actually quite different.
7. Ayva Tatlısı
A winter favourite, quince is boiled with cloves and sweet syrup. It is then filled with apple or quince meal, walnuts, and raisins and topped with kaymak (clotted cream).
Known as Basbousa in Egypt, this traditional Middle Eastern sweet cake is made from semolina and soaked in simple syrup. Sometimes rose water or coconut is also added.
A popular dessert of the former Ottoman Empire, this sweet is made by deep frying unleavened dough balls and then soaking them in syrup while they’re still hot. It is similar to jalebis and churros, crunchy on the outside and soft and very sweet on the inside.
10. Cevizli Sucuk
A sucuk is a popular Middle Eastern fermented spicy sausage, but the cevizli sucuk (or churchkhela) is a candle-shaped candy made by dipping a string with walnuts into a grape molasses mixture which is hung out to dry.
11. Kestane Şekeri
These candied chestnuts are a speciality of Bursa. Known as marron glacé in France, they are made by boiling the nuts and then dipping them in hot syrup.