Turkey is a world-renowned destination and very appreciated by tourists around the world. In fact, there are people who have visited it once and did everything possible to come back and settle there. One such person is Desislava, a 23-year-old Bulgarian girl who moved to Turkey in 2009 and which I had the pleasure to meet last year, during my vacation in Kusadasi.
Today I thought I’d share with you a delicious Turkish dessert recipe that I learned from her, but first, here’s what Desislava told me about how she came to live and work in the first Turkish city she visited:
Moving To Turkey
“I was born in Vidin, a city in northwestern Bulgaria and I first visited Turkey in the summer of 2008 when I bought a ticket for a seven days holiday in Kusadasi. The trip was great – me and my friends have chosen to travel by car so we were able to make stops whenever we needed and listen to our favorite music all the time.
Once we arrived at our destination I was fascinated by the scenery and local hospitality. As for local cuisine and accommodation facilities, I just have one word: excellent! It was, indeed, a vacation to dream about.
In the weeks that followed after I returned home I could not get my mind off the holiday I spent there. Soon I realized that what I felt was not just nostalgia after the sunny days spent on the beach, by the pool or at the waterpark – I wanted to go back there and stay. For good. Once I made that decision, it was just a matter of time until I got my first job in a hotel on the Turkish coast.
The thing I remember with most pleasure from my vacation is the baklava: a delicious dessert that can be found in any Turkish restaurant. At a time when I was home, back in Bulgaria, I wanted to cook my own baklava, so the first thing I did was go to the local store and buy the ingredients. My first baklava was ok – not as good as I served it in Turkey, it’s true, but I enjoyed it anyway. I would say that the moment when I realized that I wanted to move to Turkey was when I was enjoying that delicious piece of baklava and a cup of Turkish apple tea I bought during may vacation.”
This was the story Desislava shared with me when we met in Kusadasi last summer and this is her recipe for baklava (which, by the way, she improved during her stay in Turkey):
As you may know, baklava is a dessert, a sweet pastry filled with nuts and sweetened with syrup and/or honey. If you want to cook it at home you will need the following: a package of phyllo dough, 400 grams of chopped nuts, about 400 grams of sugar, 100 grams of butter, 200 grams of honey, 250 ml of water, juice and zest from one lemon. Start by preheating the oven while preparing the mixture. Lightly butter a pan and place 2 sheets of dough. Sprinkle half the chopped nuts mixed with 100 grams of sugar. Then cover with one sheet of dough, add the remaining chopped nuts and sugar mixture and place two more sheets on top.
Cut the baklava into you desired shapes (squares, diamonds or … use you imagination!), put it in the oven and hold it there until the sheets of dough become slightly crisp. In the meantime, prepare the syrup in 250 ml water, lemon juice and zest, the remaining 200 grams of sugar and 200 grams of honey. Pour the syrup over your baklava and put it back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
Let it cool and soak the syrup for an hour or so and then garnish it with chopped pistachios.