Known for its buttery, nutty, and sweet flavor, baklava is a dessert that the world loves. People serve it as a complement to meals in Middle Eastern restaurants as baklava is good to go with any meal and at any time.
Regardless of whether you have a sweet tooth or not, it’s hard to say no to good baklava. The thin layers of filo, the richness of nuts, and the sweetness of syrup: take you to dessert heaven.
Interestingly, this yummy dessert also comes with a rather intriguing history and loads of lesser-known facts. In fact, its origin still remains a matter of mystery and debate among cultures.
So, before you bite into the deliciousness of baklava, let’s get to know a bit more about the dish.
What Exactly Is Baklava Made Of?
People typically make this delicious dish in large trays. They use filo to make the layers of the baklava. Next up in baklava recipes, it gets stuffed with different kinds of nuts like almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, and so on. The nuts get thoroughly chopped first and put in the center of the phyllo layers after that.
Then, the baklava takes a dip in honey or sweet syrups to keep these layers together. And the yummy baklava is ready to enjoy!
Top Eight Lesser-Known Facts about Baklava
The dish is surely amazing, but the facts attached to this dessert are no less wonderful. It might be your most favorite dessert ever, but do you know its origin story? Did you know that there is ‘Baklava day’? Well, read on to know many more of such lesser-known baklava facts!
1. The Origin Story of Baklava:
Baklava first originated from the kitchens of the Topkapi Palace of Istanbul. Several cultures and dynasties lay claim to the original recipe of baklava. There is a group that believes the Assyrians were the ones making this dish from the eighth century BC. There is also the general belief that the Ottoman Empire is the place of origin for baklava.
So, the first recipe or the oldest one that comes close to the modern-day variation of baklava belongs to the Roman Empire in the second century BC. Back in the eighth century, when baklava started becoming popular, it was only meant for the rich and the royal. However, it is still hard to point out the exact time and country of origin for baklava.
2. The Actual Home Of Baklava
Baklava is a highly popular dessert in several places, such as Ethiopia, Algeria, Maghreb, South Caucasus, Central Asia, Balkans, Egypt, and the Middle East. In fact, people know baklava as the characteristic dish of these places.
And if you are in any of these places, do not forget to take a bite of this sweet and yum pastry. But until that time, order it from your nearest online pastry shop.
3. The Intriguing Greek Variation
In the Greek variant of baklava, you might get to see about thirty-three layers of phyllo. It refers to the thirty-three precious years of Jesus Christ’s life. At any Turkish home, you might spot them making the dish with thirty-three layers for their holy occasion.
As a matter of fact, there is a preparation of baklava in Greece that has about forty layers. The dessert becomes even tastier than before as more and more layers get added.
4. The Baklava Day in Turkey
November 17 is Baklava day in Turkey, and every Turkish household celebrates the day with utmost determination. You would notice the smell of different nuts, filo, and then freshly cooked baklava coming out of Turkish kitchens.
You can also try your hand at cooking this dish at home that day. And if you are not that good at cooking, you can always order some for the day!
5. A Dish That Brings the People Together
Baklava might be a dessert that is primarily of Islamic origin, but it has spread to too many countries at present. It’s no longer a dish that only the Muslims of the Middle East know of and enjoy, but it’s also common in Christian households.
In Muslim households, they prepare the baklava during the holy month of Ramadan. On the other hand, in the Christian households, they have this dish at the time of Pascha and Christmas.
6. The Trick Lies In the Filo the Chef Makes
As mentioned before, the layers of the baklava are from filo. It only needs water and flour to make the filo. Every layer of filo gets stretched for achieving the thin layers.
A chef makes a number of filo layers before starting to assemble the nuts and other ingredients. The layers of filo get a nice brush of melted butter. A lot of the taste depends on those filo layers and their thinness. Though it seems like a lot of work, the end result makes the hard work worth it.
7. Baklava Alayi: The Famous Procession
The Sultan of Topkapi in Istanbul served this sweet dish on the fifteenth day of the month of the holy Ramadan. He served the dish during a citywide procession called the Baklava Alayi. Though not much is known about this procession, it surely was one delicious event that people eagerly waited for.
8. The Largest Baklava Ever Made
The weight of the biggest baklava ever made was an astonishing 724 kg. Kayhan Darwishi, a Kurdish Chef, broke the Guinness World Record for the largest baklava.
Apparently, his friends had challenged him to break the World Record for the 513 kg baklava that Chef Mado Taspakon made in Ankara, Turkey. Darwishi, who has earned the name ‘Baklava General,’ took six months to complete this project. He gathered twenty-five sponsors to complete this delish project.
So, these are the eight facts about baklava that you might have heard for the first time. Reading all these facts must have made you crave it. And, nobody can blame you for this! So, place the order for your favorite dessert and make the dinner even better today.