Baklava may be one of the more famous of the Turkish syrupy desserts but it’s far from the only one. These desserts tend to be extra sweet and certainly resemble the flavor you get from baklava but have their own unique textures to them as well. Try them all and see which one you like best!
Kadayıf is a sweet dessert made of finely shredded filo dough and stuffed, similarly to baklava, with nuts and butter and topped with a syrupy sugar water. It’s crispy on top and sticky and chewy in the middle, with different nuts put in that make it truly a delicious treat.
Kadayıf, or "tel kadayıf" is the name of the filo dough as well, if you want to try to make it at home. But if you go into any Turkish pastry shop you’ll find kadayıf as a prominently displayed dessert, perfect for any occasion.
Kadayıf is possibly, of these four, the most similar to baklava in terms of how heavy it is and its set of ingredients. The primary difference is the shredded filo dough as opposed to the sheets of filo used for baklava, but the fillings are often relatively similar.
Künefe is one of the richest of all the Turkish desserts, with a crispy, buttery kadayıf shell packed with oozing hot cheese and topped with clotted cream and syrup and sprinkled with ground pistachios. It comes from the same region as baklava, namely the southeast of Turkey.
It’s usually cooked in round, shallow pans that are specially designed just for künefe, and it’s comparatively difficult to make. The best künefe makers tend to be well known and in the southeast in Turkey you’ll see people making künefe one the streets by stretching out the cheese as they prepare to put it in its kadayıf shell.
Lokma are probably the lightest and simplest of the desserts on this list. Essentially they are fried dough balls that are then soaked in sugary syrup. They have the same make up as the other desserts, with a crunchy shell and a soft interior, but that’s in large part because the interior is empty.
Lokma are often sold on the street, and you can easily eat 3-4 of them in one sitting (or more!). A rich dish like künefe is completely different, where even finishing one whole dish is too much for some people. Lokma are light, sweet, and perfect for someone in the city with a sweet tooth to grab a few and go.
Kemalpaşa is a dessert that originates from the town of Kemalpaşa near Bursa. It’s also relatively light, though similar to künefe uses a local unsalted cheese in its middle. The ends, rather than made of kadayıf, are made with a semolina-based dough and then the whole dessert is again drenched in syrup to make it sweet and delicious. In Bursa it’s also known as kirmastı, and eating a few for dessert makes every meal all the better! 😊