Slideshow: Snapshots from Istanbul: Beyond Baklava

Sobiyet
Sobiyet

What's the one thing that could make baklava even more decadent? Baklava with cream, of course! In this version, phyllo dough isn't just layered with a mixture of ground nuts and sugar, but a cream filing that's injected right into the middle. In one bite, you get both the satisfying crunch of the crispy phyllo dough and the softness of the cream. In other words, perfection.

Cevizli Baklava
Cevizli Baklava

In this version of baklava, forget diluting that walnut with, say, almonds or pistachio. This filling is all walnut, all the way. And it's a nice variation: Compared to the strong, sharp taste of pistachio, or the sweetness of almond, the walnut filling tastes a bit fuller and richer. But still sweet and, of course, delicious.

Belluriye
Belluriye

Another baklava-esque pastry we love: belluriye. Here, layers of phyllo dough get replaced with finely cut shreds. The play of textures—the fine-noodle shape of the shredded dough against the roughness of the chopped pistachio filling—makes each bite just a little more interesting than your traditional baklava.

Durum
Durum

Durum means "roll" in Turkish, and that's exactly what these little bites are—rolls of phyllo dough. In this case, and in the version that seemed most common in Istanbul, they're filled with pistachio. The strong-tasting filling isn't for those who aren't fans of the nut, because that's all that's there. But thanks to the syrup that's ladled over this pastry, as with other baklava varieties (a mixture of sugar, water, and a hint of lemon juice), you get a kick of sweetness along with all that pistachio. For sweet-toothed pistachio fans, it's the perfect blend.