Snapshots from Istanbul: Beyond Baklava


[Photographs: Amanda Ruggeri]

Everyone knows baklava, that pastry which layers crispy phyllo dough with a sweet, nutty filling. But most of us know only the traditional variety: rectangular pastries filled with a mixture of walnuts, almonds, or pistachios.

Unsurprisingly, since the sweet dates back to at least the 15th century, there are many more varieties than that. One 19th-century recipe even calls for baklava filled with mashed beans. Though I didn't see that version on a recent trip to Istanbul, we did see (and taste) many other delectable versions. In each pastry, the basics are the same—phyllo dough, honey or sugar-sweetened water, butter, and filling—but oh, the varieties!

From coiled rings to cream filled bites, check out the slideshow to see all five variations on baklava that are worth a try.

About the author: Amanda Ruggeri, a journalist based in Rome, blogs at Revealed Rome. She's written for the New York Times, Guardian, Fodor's, New York Magazine, and AFAR, among other publications. You can follow her on Twitter: @revealedrome

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