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Cakes and Desserts

Turkish Shortbread Cookies with Pistachio – Fistikli Un Kurabiyesi

Turkish shortbread cookies with pistachio, Fistikli Un Kurabiyesi

This delicious, crumbly shortbread cookies, un kurabiyesi, is a national favouite; my mother would make them for her afternoon tea gatherings, bayrams and special occasions when I was a child. You will find them in our pastanes, patisseries in plain, with almond or sometimes with dried fruits in Turkey. They are delicious, enjoyed with Turkish coffee, Turk kahvesi and tea, cay.

I added coarsely ground (or very finely chopped) pistachios to mine – it is nice to feel the texture and enjoy the taste of pistachios, so take care not to ground them too finely. Turkish pistachios, as referred as green emeralds are packed with flavour and we use nuts liberally in our desserts and sweet treats. They add a delicious, fragrant nutty taste. You can use ground almonds or hazelnuts instead of pistachio too. These fistikli un kurabiyesi is a great hit with my family and friends; I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Turkish Shortbread Cookies with Pistachio – Fistikli Un Kurabiyesi
 
This delicious, crumbly shortbread cookies, un kurabiyesi, is a national favouite; my mother would make them for her afternoon tea gatherings, bayrams and special occasions when I was a child. You will find them in our pastanes, patisseries in plain, with almond or sometimes with dried fruits in Turkey. They are delicious, enjoyed with Turkish coffee and tea.
Author:
Recipe type: Shortbread Cookies - Un Kurabiyesi
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 18 cookies
Ingredients
  • 300g/10 ¼ oz plain all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 110g/4oz icing sugar, sifted
  • 90g/3 ¼ oz shelled pistachios, coarsely ground or very finely chopped
  • 250g/9oz unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 5ml/1tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Extra icing sugar for dusting
  • Sprinkle of extra coarsely ground pistachio for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. Coarsely ground the pistachios, with a few pulses in a food processor; take care not to ground too finely, as it’s lovely to feel the texture and enjoy the taste of pistachios.
  3. Sift the flour into a large bowl and set aside. Sift the icing sugar in a separate bowl too.
  4. Put the butter in a large mixing bowl and coarsely slice. Beat using a mixer for 2 – 3 minutes, until smooth and light. Stir in the icing sugar and beat for another 2 minutes, until well combined.
  5. Add the sifted flour, baking powder, pinch of salt and vanilla extract and beat for another 2 minutes, making sure all combined well.
  6. Stir in the coarsely ground pistachio to the mix, beat another minute or two, until all combined and turned into a crumbly dough.
  7. Using your hands, gently combine and turn the mixture into a dough ball. Place in a bowl, cover with cling film and keep in the fridge for 10 minutes. This helps shaping and forming the shortbread cookie balls.
  8. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  9. Take the dough out of the fridge and pull off walnut sized pieces of dough and gently shape into balls, rolling the dough into round shape with your hands. Each dough ball will be about 3cm / 1.2in in diameter. Place the dough balls on the baking tray, with about 5cm/2in between each dough ball. You will make about 18 dough balls.
  10. Bake the Turkish shortbread cookies, un kurabiyes, in the preheated oven for 15 – 18 minutes, they will be pale golden; try not to overbake, so that they can retain their crumbly texture.
  11. Take the cookies out of the oven and let them cool completely. Once cool, sift icing sugar over them and sprinkle a little ground pistachio over when serving. They are delicious aside tea and Turkish coffee. They can be stored in a container with a lid for a good 5-6 days.
  12. Afiyet Olsun.
 

Hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table in the USA- with reduced shipping rates!-

We are delighted to share that we now have significantly reduced shipping rates to the USA (approximately 14 USD), for the hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table, you can order via GB Publishing, at this link.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table and the apron also available at this link.

Our best wishes and Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Baklava, Revani, Kunefe and More; Desserts for the End of Ramadan

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), starting 24 May 2020.

The Blue Mosque Istanbul; a special place to visit during and end of Ramadan

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul; a special place to visit during and end of Ramadan

Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, improvement, charity, as well as increased devotion and worship.  Ramadan is also a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community, share what you have and visit one another.  With the Covid 19, unfortunately visiting one another will be a virtual one for most of us; still the food we prepare and share with friends, neighbours even by the door and give back to charities will be special.

Baklava, is one of the ultimate treats of end of Ramadan gatherings

Baklava, is one of the ultimate treats of end of Ramadan gatherings

 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 too.

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. Signed copies now 30 % OFF at this link, and delivered worldwide including US.

Ramazan Bayraminiz kutlu olsun, Eid Mubarak to all celebrating and best wishes,

Ozlem

Baklava with Walnuts and Pistachios 

Home made baklava; delicious, easy and lighter

Home made baklava; delicious, easy and lighter

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.  How to make Baklava is also now on Ozlem’s Turkish Table You Tube channel below.

Gullac

Delicious and light Gullac dessert is ideal for warm summer days.

Delicious and light Gullac dessert is ideal for warm summer days.

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.

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

Kunefe, Kadayifi - a glorious dessert that would make any day special.

Kunefe, Kadayifi – a glorious dessert that would make any day special.

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.

The Master at work in Long Market, Antakya. The dough is pushed through a sieve to form delicate strands, called Tel Kadayif.

The Master at work in Long Market, Antakya. The dough is pushed through a sieve to form delicate strands, called Tel Kadayif.

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; a deliciously moist semolina sponge cake in syrup

Revani; a deliciously moist semolina sponge cake in 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.

Here is also my Revani YouTube video – Afiyet Olsun.

Kaymakli Ekmek Kadayifi; Turkish Bread Pudding in Syrup

Ekmek Kadayifi; Turkish bread pudding soaked in syrup

Ekmek Kadayifi; Turkish bread pudding soaked 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.

 Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Katmer; Turkish crunchy pancakes with pistachio and clotted cream

Katmer; Turkish crunchy pancakes with pistachios and clotted cream

Katmer; Turkish crunchy pancakes with pistachios and clotted cream

This delicious and easy to make Turkish crunchy pancakes with pistachios and clotted cream, Katmer, hails from Gaziantep, one of the must visit gastronomic regions in Turkey. The crunchy, flaky Katmer is traditionally the first meal eaten by the bride and groom after their wedding night in Gaziantep. It tastes absolutely heavenly with Gaziantep’s world famous pistachios and the thick Turkish clotted cream, kaymak.

and place little dabs of the clotted cream, mascarpone cheese or Turkish kaymak, all around the filo sheet.

Place little dabs of the clotted cream, mascarpone cheese or Turkish kaymak, all around the filo sheet.

My version of Katmer here uses filo pastry sheets (you can use the fresh, paper thin Turkish yufka pastry sheets in Turkey) and thick clotted cream instead of kaymak, as it is not easy to find kaymak abroad (mascarpone cheese also gave good results). The substitution worked well in Katmer and made a lovely, light dessert with with fresh fruit by the side. You can serve Katmer as part of breakfast, dessert or as a tea time treat.

Katmer, Turkish crunchy pancakes with pistachios and clotted cream, a specialty of Gaziantep.

Katmer, Turkish crunchy pancakes with pistachios and clotted cream, a specialty of Gaziantep.

I hope you enjoy Katmer, Afiyet Olsun,
Ozlem

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Katmer; Turkish crunchy pancakes with pistachio and clotted cream
 
This delicious and easy to make Turkish crunchy pancakes with pistachios and clotted cream, Katmer, hails from Gaziantep, one of the must visit gastronomic regions in Turkey. It is delicious as part of breakfast, tea time treat or a light dessert with fresh fruit aside.
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish regional desserts
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 sheets of filo pastry, thawed (each sheet about 30 cm x 27 cm – 11 in x 12 in)
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp. melted unsalted butter
  • 55 gr / 2 oz. clotted cream, Turkish kaymak or mascarpone cheese
  • 60 gr / 4 tbsp. finely crushed, unsalted pistachios
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp. sugar (brown sugar works well too)
  • Honey and fresh fruit to serve (optional)
Instructions
  1. Take the filo sheets out of the fridge 30 minutes prior using to bring to room temperature. If filo sheets are frozen, it is best to thaw in the fridge overnight and take out 1 hour prior using to bring to room temperature. Alternatively, you can take out the frozen filo sheets 2 hours prior using to bring to room temperature.
  2. Place two filo sheets on top of another on a dry surface (keep the rest of the filo sheets under damp towel so that they won’t dry out).
  3. Leave a margin of about 4 cm (1.5 in) around the edges and place little dabs of the clotted cream, mascarpone cheese or Turkish kaymak, all around the filo sheet.
  4. Sprinkle the finely crushed pistachios and sugar evenly over the cream.
  5. Place the remaining 2 filo sheets on top. Brush the edges of the top filo sheet with 1 tbsp. of melted butter. Wet your hands and fold over each side of the pasty (about 2 cm / 1 in) to make a parcel. Seal the edges with your wet hands and the brushed melted butter.
  6. Coat the remaining 1 tbsp. melted butter around a large, non-stick frying pan, over medium heat.
  7. Place the filo parcel into the pan (with the wrapped edges down) and cook for 2 minutes, as it will get golden.
  8. Turn the pancake over gently (large spatulas help) and cook for another 1,5 minutes or until golden.
  9. Serve katmer warm, drizzled with a little honey (if you wish) and crushed pistachios over. Bowl of fresh fruit aside complements katmer beautifully too.
 

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