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Layers of Sweetness: Unraveling the History of Baklava
Dates Arabia

Layers of Sweetness: Unraveling the History of Baklava

  • By: Dates Arabia
  • 30 Jul, 2023

Originating in the Ottoman Empire, baklava has become a tasty popular sweet dish. Baklava is a culinary marvel that crosses national boundaries and cultural boundaries thanks to its delicate layers of flaky crust, chopped almonds, and a decadent drizzle of syrup or honey. Its origins may be found in the ancient Middle Eastern regions, where it first appeared as evidence of the innovation and culinary ingenuity of earlier generations.

The dish's pre-Ottoman origin is unclear, but it is a popular dessert in contemporary Turkish, Iranian, and Arab cuisines as well as those of other Levantine and Maghreb nations, the South Caucasus, the Balkans, Somalia, and Central Asian nations.

In this article, we'll explore the unique history of baklava and its development over time, from its modest beginnings to its status as a beloved delicacy that can be enjoyed on special occasions as well as every day. We'll go into the past to see how this delicious treat crossed countries, absorbed various influences, and transformed into the cherished dessert we enjoy today.

Baklava's Preparation Since Older Times

Large pans are typically used to create baklava. The pan is filled with many layers of filo dough that have been divided into melted butter and vegetable oil. Then, more layers of filo are added, followed by a layer of chopped nuts—typically walnuts or pistachios, but hazelnuts are occasionally used. Numerous layers of filo and nuts are used in the majority of recipes, however, others just call for top and bottom crust.

The dough is divided into uniform pieces before baking; these pieces are frequently parallelograms (lozenge-shaped), triangles, diamonds, or rectangles. After baking, the baklava is covered with a syrup that may contain honey, rosewater, or orange blossom water and let to soak.

Origins of Baklava

The history of baklava is somewhat hazy. Baklava is said to have originated in Assyria in the 8th century BC, which includes modern-day Lebanon and Egypt, to name a couple. Unleavened bread was cooked in this location and filled with nuts and honey; as a result, it is regarded as the first type of baklava that people in that era could consume. Baklava was brought from the Middle East to the western regions of the world by Greek tradesmen who roamed the empire.

The Ottoman Empire later said that it had perfected the skill of making Baklava delicious in the 15th century. Again, it is difficult to tell with certainty which nation mastered it because the ottoman empire controlled a large portion of the world, spanning various nations. Because the Ottoman Empire covered so many areas, each one had its own distinct baklava preferences. However, the word "baklava" is Turkish in origin, and the dessert was most frequently served in Istanbul's Topkapi Palace. Turkey is where the baklava dessert first gained popularity.

Today, the Middle East, the Turks, and the Greeks all assert that they are the originators of the exquisite treat known as baklava. As a result, they created their own variations of baklava and developed a culture around it. It is reasonable to conclude that this delicious delicacy has blended the traditions of Turks, Greeks, and many other places, despite the fact that its origins are still a mystery. As a result, each region's baklava has a particular flavour and cooking style.

Baklava and its Regional Variations

Iran: A drier kind of baklava is prepared in Iranian cuisine and served in smaller diamond-shaped slices with rosewater flavouring. The sweet treat known as baklava is quite popular in Iran and is especially popular in the towns of Yazd and Qazvin. Persian baklava is lighter than other Middle Eastern varieties because it is made with a mixture of chopped almonds and pistachios, cardamom, and rosewater-scented syrup.

Balkans: The Balkans is a region in Europe. Ružice is the name of the regional version of baklava in Bosnian cuisine. Baklava, or baklava as it is known in Romanian, is a component of Romanian cuisine as well. Along with the sarailia and the cataif, it is one of the most popular sweets among Romanians. Some Turkish bakeries that sell baklava are well-known in Romania. Although some can be found in the country's east, they are more prevalent in the south and southeast.

Azerbaijan: In Azerbaijan, the diamond-shaped pakhlava is frequently compared to a star or a fire. Multilayered Azerbaijani pakhlava is frequently made with walnuts or almonds and flavoured with saffron. Although not just created for holidays, Azerbaijani pakhlava, or simply pakhlava, are a type of baklava made in Azerbaijan for the Nowruz festival. Pakhlava is made using yeasty dough, hazelnuts or Circassian walnuts, ground clove, cardamom, and saffron. For the stuffing, sugar and ground nuts are added.

Turkey: The pistachio baklava from Gaziantep, located in south-central Turkey, is well-known. Çelebi Güllü brought the dessert to Gaziantep in 1871 after learning the recipe from a cook in Damascus. A geographical designation for Antep Baklava was established by the Turkish Patent Office in 2008.

Baklava is a dessert that is typically produced in Turkey by stuffing pistachios, walnuts, or almonds (in some areas of the Aegean Region) between the layers of dough. Baklava is frequently served with kaymak or ice cream in several regions of Turkey.

Algeria: Algerians refer to baklava as baklava. Baklawa is the star of any dessert table in the majority of Algerian localities. The city of Constantine in Algeria is where this Baklawa comes from. Instead of using filo dough, the Algerian Baklawa is constructed of many layers of extremely thin dough that have been painstakingly created. Prior to cooking, it is flavoured with orange blossom water, packed with ground almonds and walnuts, and drizzled with pure honey.

Dates Arabia and How We Serve Baklava

Our baklavas at Dates Arabia include a middle eastern and Turkish flavour. Additionally, we offer Arabic dates from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and Jordan. We now offer olive oils, which are utilised in Arabic cooking, and we'll shortly be bringing a lot more. Our brand's fundamental idea is to popularise Middle Eastern cuisine.