The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a three-day Ramazan Bayrami or Seker Bayrami in Turkey (also named Eid al-Fitr in the Islamic World, Festival of Fast-Breaking). There is a wonderful excitement in my parent’s home in Istanbul, as the holy month of Ramadan is now reaching to its end soon.
Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, improvement, charity, as well as increased devotion and worship. I love seeing family and friends visiting each other, elderly eagerly waiting for the young ones to pay a visit; little ones equally eagerly waiting for their sweet treats. Ramadan is also a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community, share what you have and visit one another. A wonderful time when feelings of tolerance and charity are foremost in people’s minds.
Serving and sharing desserts when visiting friends and family is a special highlight for the end of Ramadan, Ramazan Bayrami activities. My mother plans what she will be preparing for the family and guests ahead of time. Below are some of the special desserts being prepared for Ramazan Bayrami in our family. I hope they may inspire to recreate for your family and friends for any special occasion.
Desserts play an important role in Turkish culture and are the center piece at religious festivals, weddings and family celebrations. My cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland is packed with delicious dessert recipes from Baklava to Kadayifi, fruit based desserts to Turkish Delight – Lokum and more. You can order a signed copy of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book at this link, if you’d like.
Ramazan Bayraminiz kutlu olsun, Eid Mubarak if you’re celebrating and best wishes for the summer,
Baklava with Walnuts and Pistachios
An Ottoman legacy, baklava is regarded as one of the greatest creations from the pastry chefs at the Topkapi Palace. Generally, baklava is enjoyed as a mid-morning sweet snack with a cup of Turkish coffee, or as a mid-afternoon treat with a glass of tea or after lunch or dinner. Baklava is also one of the favorite desserts marking the end of Ramadan. The real thing shouldn’t be very sweet and heavy; on the contrary it should be light enough to tempt you to eat a small plateful. Here is my home made baklava recipe; my version is lighter and fragrant with lemon, hope you enjoy it.
One of our favorite dessert for this time of the year is the traditional dessert, Gullac. This lovely, light dessert is prepared with Gullac wafers which is made with corn starch and wheat flour. You can find Gullac wafers at specialty or Middle Eastern stores, or at Turkish online shops like Tulumba.com outside Turkey.
Güllaç dessert contains walnuts or almonds between the layers which are soaked in milk. It is a light and wonderful dessert for warm summer days. You can decorate Gullac with pomegranate seeds in winter or dried fruits like apricots in summer; crushed pistachios are also wonderful over gullac. Here is my Gullac recipe.
Kunefe; Kadayifi; a very festive dessert
This glorious syrup soaked, cheese filled pastry strands, Kunefe, Kadayifi, is one of the signature dishes of my hometown, Antakya and it appears on our table in almost every special occasion.
Tel kadayif is a dough, pushed through a sieve to form delicate strands, which looks like vermicelli and when soaked in butter and baked, resembles golden shredded wheat. It is the basis for many desserts but this is the most impressive. The hot cheese should ooze out giving an interesting contrast to the syrup soaked, crunchy casing. Any unsalted cheese which melts easily can be used – fresh mozzarella works well. I also like to add a little clotted cream; my mother would add the wonderfully thick cream we get in Turkey, called Kaymak. Kunefe can be baked in one big pan or smaller ones as individual portions and it instantly makes any day special. Here is my Kunefe recipe, if you’d like to give it a go.
Revani; Semolina Sponge Cake with Syrup
Revani has been a popular dessert with us Turks since the Ottoman Period; it is believed that the name Revani is given when the Ottomans conquered the city of Yerevan in today’s Armenia. Revani has many versions and been enjoyed in various cuisines especially in the Eastern Mediterranean countries, as well as in Turkey. I have seen the addition of rose water, orange flower water and orange zest to Revani, all sounds delicious. We love semolina’s grainy, nutty texture, the goodness from yoghurt and the refreshing lemony flavor in Revani. Here’s my Revani recipe; it is lighter but still packed with a lot of flavor.
Kaymakli Ekmek Kadayifi; Turkish Bread Pudding in Syrup
Ekmek Kadayifi, a specialty from Antakya, is a delicious and very popular dessert in Turkey, made with the special (dehydrated) bread soaked in syrup. Topped with the thick Turkish clotted cream, kaymak, it is a heavenly and a very satisfying dessert. Unfortunately it is difficult get this dehydrated bread abroad. Middle Eastern shops, Turkish shops and online Turkish stores may carry them, worth checking. I have also seen crumpets being used as an alternative to this dehydrated bread abroad. If using crumpets, you’ll need to adjust the syrup quantity. Here is my Ekmek Kadayifi recipe.
how i remember the days when i could not buy pre-made phyllo. i was 13 years old and it would take me a day to make it and stretch it across the table!
I greatly admire you making your own phyllo dough Jaz, I bet that was quite special!:)
Ooh, kunefi, revani and baklava all in one post! Ozlem, you have me dreaming of dessert before dinner:) I remember good friends used to celebrate the end of Ramadan and fasting with wonderful food. XxPeri.
Thank you Peri, a special time of the year to gather with friends and family to enjoy these treats, glad you enjoyed it – how I wished you were close by! xx Ozlem
Özlem , wonderful post! I remember the revani we made with you, yum! They are all yum really but just too too fattening :((
Merhaba dear Claudia, they’re in the treats category for us and I love these treats at Ramadan – everything in moderation, of course 🙂 I so enjoyed sharing Revani together too!
Özlem’ciğim, Yes, like Claudia, I remember the revani we made with you – heavenly and I even made it afterwards for guests. All of the deserts are such wonderful special treats. My mouth was watering while I was reading. I guess if we just confine ourselves to eating them on Bayram, the damage won’t be too bad . . . . Selamlar, iyi bayramlar. Öptük. J and M
Merhaba Jolee, I agree – they really are a treat, and so special for us, especially during Bayram – they need to be kept in moderation though : ) Cok sevgiler, Mutlu Bayramlar – and insallah see you soon!
That is a fine collection of desserts and I’d find it very hard to choose between them. I’m afraid that (to my shame) I still have not tried making Revani and have yet to taste Gullac. I must put that right soon.
Thank you Phil, it is a high praise as I know your desserts are just wonderful. Hope you enjoy Gullac and Revani sometime : )
I have been following your blog for some time and love the recipes. Do you have one for Candied Pumpkin? Our pumpkins will be ready soon!
Merhaba Karen, thank you for stopping by and your kind comment, delighted to hear you enjoy the recipes! Yes, I do have a delicious candied pumpkin dessert, served with walnuts, here is the link https://ozlemsturkishtable.com/2013/10/candied-pumpkin-dessert-with-walnuts-turkish-style-cevizli-kabak-tatlisi/
Bütün sayfan ne kadar güzel yakismis ama Bayrama…
Sevgili Selcuk, cok tesekkur ederim, Mutlu Bayramlar 🙂