Baklava is an unbelievably delicious dessert that is made with layers of phyllo dough filled with nuts and sweetened syrup. It is usually drenched in syrup or honey, giving it an irresistible sweet flavor.
The origins of baklava are debated a lot but most believe that the dish was created by Arab cooks living in the Ottoman Empire. One legend says that baklava is named for Turkish words meaning “thin (bak) sheet (lav) of pastry (pastry),” While another suggests it comes from the Greek word for “sweet dessert.”
Baklava originated sometime between the 7th-15th century AD, depending on which version you read about. Regardless, this delicious dish has been enjoyed throughout the world for centuries.
Here are 3 places that baklava is believed to have come from:
1. Southern and Central Europe
As it has spread throughout the world, baklava has taken numerous forms. This is because changes in ingredients and methods of preparation were largely introduced by the countries that the dish spread to. Baklava was originally introduced in Hungary during the Ottoman period where it has since become a staple of their cuisine. In other places like Greece, Turkey, and Armenia, baklava became part of their traditional desserts for special occasions and holidays. It is also commonly served in Bulgaria, Romania, and Italy. However, each country makes baklava differently with some variations including:
· Greek-style Baklava: A popular type that uses mainly walnuts along with spices such as cinnamon.
· Italian Baklava: Has a strong anise flavor and is a crumbly pastry made with a very thin sheet of dough.
· Bulgarian Baklava: This is often baked in long strings which are then cut to size. It includes walnuts, almonds, peanuts, or hazelnuts.
· Turkish Baklava: Is traditionally rolled into triangles and contains butter, semolina, and wheat flour. It also uses pistachios as the most common nut ingredient used.
2. Mediterranean Countries
As mentioned before, baklava can be found all throughout the world where Middle Eastern cuisine has emerged. However, it still remains very similar with only slight modifications depending on what ingredients are locally available or preferred by different cultures. This means that wherever the dish was introduced, the main components remained intact while minor changes were made to suit what was available through trade or what types of nuts were native to the land.
In Lebanon, baklava is actually a staple dessert in many homes. It is so popular that even fast-food chains have it on their menu. In fact, you can even buy raw materials to make your own baklava at some cafeterias and grocery stores!
3. North America and the UK
Modern baklava is available in popular restaurants in major cities and appears on dessert menus in places all over the globe. This has also made it possible to buy already prepared baklava from grocery stores and specialty shops. It can even be made at home with a little practice!
Baklava is such an amazing dish that not only tastes great but can be found around the world in many different forms and has become one of the favorite desserts for many people.
The history of how it spread remains unknown; however, each country adapted this pastry to their specific way of cooking and eating which means you’ll never find two dishes exactly alike!