Baklava and Turkish Delights maybe the first thing that comes to mind when speaking about desserts in Turkey. However, with a culture that cultivates culinary creativity and highlights quality ingredients, you'd be fascinated to see and taste the array of excellent desserts with origins from various regions.
For example, their Salep Donduruma, the Turks stretchy ice cream, is generally sweetened and flavored with aromatic mastic and thickened with salep (a powder made from wild orchid tubers and gives that elasticity). It's a simple dessert but this 300 years old recipe still excites especially when the vendor taunts you and make you think your ice cream is about to fall off its cone - yeah the vendors are such tease.
And then you have puddings, custards and milk based desserts that are not seen as kids stuff, but are in fact serious desserts loved by all - even in the finest restaurants! What's not to like when they come in so many different flavours, colours and textures? My favourite of all puddings (I believe I had sample 4-5 types) was the Kazandibi that was made at Emirgan Sutis - if you went back a few posts, you'll see what I'm talking about.
One dessert you should not miss if you have a sweet tooth like me is Künefe, a southeastern specialty - they're everywhere so do get recommendations for this. Typically found alongside Kebab restaurants, this crispy cheese-filled dessert is so delicious, it awakens so many senses. A low salt Turkish cheese is placed in between the kadayif, a traditional shredded dough that lends crunch to this dessert, atop a heavily buttered pan. It is served hot, with soft, stringy melting cheese in between and drenched with clarified butter and very aromatic syrup. The bright green pistachios that are sprinkle on top perfects it visually and in taste too! 🤤🤤🤤 Actually, I'd add kaymak too if this dish was left to me. 🙈
Other than that, there are so many more desserts beyond baklavas and lokums worth exploring. You just need to be adventurous about it. What's you favourite Turkish dessert?