Baklava is the layered pastry dessert of Turkish, Greek, and Middle Eastern origin. This sweet delicacy is made with phyllo (also spelled as filo), dough, syrup, honey and lots of nuts. Baklava is one of the most popular sweet pastries of Ottoman cuisine. Moreover, the sweet treat is equally popular in Iran, Arab and other Central Asian countries. Here are some of exciting and interesting facts about baklava that are surely not to be missed:
Top 6 interesting facts about baklava you probably didn't know before!
1. Origin and history of baklava
The word “baklava” was first attested in English dictionary in 1650. The term baklava is mentioned in several languages with minor spelling variations.
Though the exact origin or the history of baklava is not clear, but the most common notion is that this desert came from imperial kitchen of Topkapi palace, Turkey. It is said that sultan presented trays of baklava to janissaries during sacred month of Ramadan in a ceremonial possession called “the baklava alayi”. Turkish city Gaziantep is popular for its pistachio baklava.
2. Baklava recipe
The oldest known recipe that is similar to today’s baklava recipe is from 2nd
century BC. Nowadays, the sweet delicacy of baklava
is skillfully made with phyllo (filo), dough, syrup or honey and nuts. To prepare phyllo, flour and water is mixed to form dough. The dough is then stretched to paper thinness and cut into sheets. There are approximately 30-40 layers of phyllo in baklava, each brushed generously with melted butter. Finally, the phyllo is garnished with lots of crushed nuts, walnuts, pistachios, or almonds. It is then baked and drenched with a syrup and honey. And here, the sweet delight is ready to be served.
3. Baklava fun fact - The Guinness world record of largest baklava!
The Guinness world record
of largest baklava is 513 kg (1,130 lb 15 oz). This largest baklava was made on 22 March, 2018. It was during the Ankara Gastronomy Summit 2018. The record was achieved by Mado, Taşpakon and Ankara Valiliği (all Turkey) in Ankara, Turkey.
4. What makes a good baklava – according to experts!
Baklava is much more than just a dessert, its whole cultural and culinary experience and example of human ingenuity. So, what’s the ideal baklava or what makes it best? The Gulluoglu Baklava in Karakoy is the master of baklava makers since 1800’s. The Gulluoglu experts describe the best baklava as the one not very sweet , not too heavy, just perfect balance of ingredients.
5. This is how baklava is tested for its quality!
You will be amazed to know this interesting fact about baklava! Baklava must pass three “tests” for quality assurance. These include hearing test - when you place a fork into a baklava you should hear a rustling sound. Then comes smelling test - when you take the first bite, you can smell the butter and nuts. And the third is taste (good baklava has heavenly taste in mouth, that not only satisfies the hunger but taste buds also). Interesting, isn’t it?
6. Baklava is served in religious events!
During the Ottoman era, the Sultan would present trays of baklava to janissaries during sacred month of Ramadan in a ceremonial possession called “the baklava alayi”. In addition to this, baklava is served in different religious events. For instance, Christians serve it at the occasion of Christmas and Easter. It is said that 40 layers of filo in baklava correspond to 40 days of Lent.
Sometimes, Greek-styled baklava is made with 33 layers of filo, signifying the years of Christ’s life. Baklava is also one of favorite desserts of South Caucasus, Balkans, Maghreb and Central Asian countries.
Baklava is surely one of the must try sweet delicacy. Hopefully you enjoyed these interesting facts about baklava. If you know more of baklava facts, let us know in comments. Stay tuned for more exciting content.