World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0018707192
Reproduction Date:

Title: Baklava  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Turkish cuisine, Shekerbura, List of pastries, Serbian cuisine, Arab cuisine
Collection: Balkan Cuisine, Desserts, Middle Eastern Cuisine, Nut Dishes, Ottoman Cuisine, Pastries, Turkish Words and Phrases
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Baklava is prepared on large trays and cut into a variety of shapes
Course Dessert
Place of origin Ottoman Empire
Region or state Countries of the former Ottoman Empire, Western and Central Asia
Serving temperature Cold, room temperature or re-warmed
Main ingredients Phyllo dough, nuts, sweetening
Variations Multiple

Baklava (, ,[1] or ;[2] Ottoman Turkish: باقلوا ) is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire, and is also found in Central and Southwest Asia.


  • Name 1
  • History 2
  • Preparation 3
  • Regional variations 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The word baklava is first attested in English in 1650,[3] a borrowing from Ottoman Turkish باقلوا /bɑːklɑvɑː/.[4][5] The name baklava is used in many languages with minor phonetic and spelling variations.

The origin of the name is disputed. The Turkish etymologist Sevan Nişanyan claims an old Turkish origin (baklağı or baklağu).[6] Buell argues that the word "baklava" may come from the Mongolian root baγla- 'to tie, wrap up, pile up' composed with the Turkic verbal ending -v;[7] baγla- itself in Mongolian is a Turkic loanword.[8]

Though the suffix -vā might suggest a Persian origin,[9][10] the baqla- part does not appear to be Persian.[11] Another form of the word is also recorded in Persian, باقلبا (bāqlabā).[12]

The Arabic name بقلاوة baqlāwa is doubtless a borrowing from Turkish,[13] though a folk etymology, unsupported by Wehr's dictionary, connects it to Arabic بقلة /baqlah/ 'bean'.


Turkish Baklava served with kaymak and pistachios, typical of Turkey

Although the history of baklava is not well documented, there is evidence that its current form was developed in the imperial kitchens of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul.[14] The Sultan presented trays of baklava to the Janissaries every 15th of the month of Ramadan in a ceremonial procession called the Baklava Alayı.[15] Two well-supported proposals for the pre-Ottoman roots of this Istanbul dessert are that it came from a Central Asian Turkic tradition of layered breads,[16] or that it came from Roman placenta cake, part of the Byzantine culinary traditions of the city of Istanbul, which had been the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire.[17]

One source writes that baklava was already present in a 13th Century Turkish cookbook and as such can be considered the Turkish dessert with the strongest links to pre-Anatolian Turkish cuisine.[18] The tradition of layered breads by Turkic peoples in Central Asia has been suggested as the "missing link" between the Central Asian folded or layered breads (which did not include nuts) and modern phyllo-based pastries like baklava would be the Azerbaijani dish Bakı pakhlavası, which involves layers of dough and nuts. The Uzbek pakhlava, puskal or yupka, and Tatar yoka, sweet and salty savories (boreks) prepared with 10–12 layers of dough, are other early examples of layered dough style in Turkic regions.[13] The practice of stretching raw dough into paper-thin sheets probably evolved in the kitchens of the Topkapı Palace, based on Central Asian prototypes.[19] One of the oldest known recipes for a sort of proto-baklava is Güllaç, also found in Turkish cuisine. It consists of layers of phyllo dough that are put one by one in warmed up milk with sugar. It is served with walnut and fresh pomegranate and generally eaten during Ramadan. The first known documentation of güllaç is in a food and health manual written in 1330 that documented primarily Mongol-Turkic foods called Yinshan Zhengyao (飮膳正要), which was written by Husihui (忽思慧) who was a Turkic physician to the Mongol court of the Yuan dynasty[7]

Other sources state that baklava originated in Roman cuisine, and its successor, Byzantine cuisine.[20][17] Indeed, nut and honey based sweets were popular ancient desserts.[21] Patrick Faas states that the honey covered baked layered-dough dessert placenta of Roman times was the origin of baklava, "The Greeks and the Turks still argue over which dishes were originally Greek and which Turkish. Baklava, for example, is claimed by both countries. Greek and Turkish cuisine both built upon the cookery of the Byzantine Empire, which was a continuation of the cooking of the Roman Empire. Roman cuisine had borrowed a great deal from the ancient Greeks, but placenta (and hence baklava) had a Latin, not a Greek, origin—please note that the conservative, anti-Greek Cato left us this recipe. Also, placenta played a traditional role in ancient Roman religion."[17][22] In Greek the word plakous (Greek: πλακοῦς) was used for Latin placenta,[23] and the Byzantine scholar Speros Vryonis describes one type of plakous, koptoplakous (Byzantine Greek: κοπτοπλακοῦς), as a "Byzantine favorite" and "the same as the Turkish baklava",[24] referring ultimately to book XIV of the Deipnosophistae, as do other writers.[25]

There are also similarities between baklava and the Ancient Greek gastris (γάστρις),[26] kopte sesamis (κοπτὴ σησαμίς), and kopton (κοπτόν).[27][28] (Gastris is said to have contained a filling of nuts and honey, while its outer layers were made of a honey and ground sesame mixture similar to modern pasteli or halva.[29])

It is said that al-Baghdadi describes something similar to baklava in his 13th-century cookbook. However, Claudia Roden[30] finds no evidence for it in Arab or even medieval Persian sources and suggests it arrived in the region during the Ottoman period.


Baklava is normally prepared in large pans. Many layers of phyllo dough,[31] separated with melted butter, are laid in the pan. A layer of chopped nuts—typically walnuts or pistachios, but hazelnuts are also sometimes used—is placed on top, then more layers of phyllo. Most recipes have multiple layers of phyllo and nuts, though some have only top and bottom pastry.

Before baking, the dough is cut into regular pieces, often parallelograms (lozenge-shaped), triangles, or rectangles. A syrup, which may include honey, rosewater, or orange flower water is poured over the cooked baklava and allowed to soak in.

Baklava is usually served at room temperature, often garnished with ground nuts.

Regional variations

In Turkey, baklava is traditionally made by filling between the layers of dough with pistachios, walnuts, almonds (parts of the Aegean Region) or a special preparation called "kaymak" (not to be confused with kaymak). In the Black Sea Region hazelnuts are commonly used as a filling for baklava.[32] The city of Gaziantep in southeast Turkey is famous for its pistachio baklava and it regards itself as the native city for this dish, though it only appears to have been introduced to Gaziantep from Damascus in 1871.[33] In 2008, the Turkish patent office registered a geographical indication for Antep Baklava,[34] and in 2013, Antep Baklavası or Gaziantep Baklavası was registered as a Protected Geographical Indication by the European Commission.[35] In many parts of Turkey, baklava is often topped with kaymak or, in the summer, ice cream (milk cream flavour, called "kaymaklı dondurma").

In Greece, baklava is supposed to be made with 33 dough layers, referring to the years of Christ's life.[36]

In Albania, the dough may include egg yolks, and the filling uses walnuts.

In Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia, baklava is made with walnuts and sugar syrup.

In the Balkans, it is a popular dessert. It is also made on special occasions, especially by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr, and by Christians during Pascha and Christmas.

In Armenia, paklava is made with cinnamon and cloves.[37]

In Azerbaijan, pakhlava is mostly prepared during the Nowruz festivity. After preparation the pakhlava is cut into diamond shapes and each piece is garnished with an almond or a walnut.

In Afghanistan and Cyprus, baklava is prepared into triangle-shaped pieces and is lightly covered in crushed pistachio nuts.

In Georgia, baklava is made with honey, sugar, walnuts, vanilla, butter, and sour cream.

In Iran, a drier version of baklava is cooked and presented in smaller diamond-shaped cuts flavored with rose water. The cities of Yazd and Qazvin are famous for their baklava, which is widely distributed in Iran.[38] Persian baklava uses a combination of chopped almonds and pistachios spiced with cardamom and a rose water-scented syrup and is lighter than Middle Eastern versions.[9][39]

In Israel, baklava is made of phyllo pastry sheets, nuts, such as pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds, sweet butter, clove, sugar, cinammon, and the syrup combined with orange and lemon rind.

In Jordan, baklava is made of dough layers filled with nuts, such as pistachios, and sugar or honey syrup.[40]

In Lebanon, baklava is made of filo pastry filled with nuts and steeped in Attar syrup (orange or rose water or sugar) or honey. It is usually cut into triangular or diamond shapes.

In Syria, baklava is prepared from phyllo dough sheets, butter, walnuts and sugar syrup. It is cut into lozenge pieces.[41]

See also


  1. ^ "Merriam-Webster". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  2. ^ "Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition
  4. ^ "Merriam-Webster Online, ''s.v.'' Baklava". Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  5. ^ " Unabridged, ''s.v.'' Baklava". Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Paul D. Buell, "Mongol Empire and Turkicization: The Evidence of Food and Foodways", p. 200ff, in Amitai-Preiss, 1999.
  8. ^ Sukhbaatar, O. (1997). A Dictionary of Foreign Words in Mongolian (PDF) (in Mongolian).  
  9. ^ a b Batmanglij, Najmieh, A Taste of Persia: An Introduction to Persian Cooking, I.B.Tauris, 2007, ISBN 1-84511-437-X, 9781845114374; page 156.
  10. ^ Marks, Gil, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, John Wiley and Sons, 2010, ISBN 0-470-39130-8, ISBN 978-0-470-39130-3; page 38.
  11. ^ "a derivation from balg, a common dialect form of barg "leaf", or from Ar. baql "herb" is unlikely", W. Eilers, Encyclopædia Iranica, s.v. 'bāqlavā'
  12. ^ "Dehkhoda Persian Dictionary, باقلبا". Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  13. ^ a b Akın and Lambraki, Turkish and Greek Cuisine/Türk ve Yunan Mutfağı p. 248-249, ISBN 975-458-484-2
  14. ^ Perry 1994, 87
  15. ^ Syed Tanvir Wasti, "The Ottoman Ceremony of the Royal Purse", Middle Eastern Studies 41:2:193–200 (March 2005)
  16. ^ Perry 1994, 87
  17. ^ a b c . Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 185.Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient RomePatrick Faas (2003).
  18. ^
  19. ^ Perry, Charles. "The Taste for Layered Bread among the Nomadic Turks and the Central Asian Origins of Baklava", in A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (ed. Sami Zubaida, Richard Tapper), 1994. ISBN 1-86064-603-4
  20. ^ John Ash, A Byzantine Journey, page 223
  21. ^ . Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280681-9. p. 363.The Oxford Companion to FoodDavidson (2014).
  22. ^ "De Agricultura". 
  23. ^ placenta, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, on Perseus
  24. ^ Speros Vryonis The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor, 1971, p. 482
  25. ^ Rena Salaman, "Food in Motion the Migration of Foodstuffs and Cookery Techniques" from the Oxford Symposium on Food Cookery, Vol. 2, p. 184
  26. ^ γάστρις, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  27. ^ κοπτός, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  28. ^ Deipnosophists 14:647, discussed by Charles Perry, "The Taste for Layered Bread among the Nomadic Turks and the Central Asian Origins of Baklava", in A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (ed. Sami Zubaida, Richard Tapper), 1994. ISBN 1-86064-603-4. p. 88.
  29. ^ Charles Perry, "The Taste for Layered Bread among the Nomadic Turks and the Central Asian Origins of Baklava", in A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (ed. Sami Zubaida, Richard Tapper), 1994. ISBN 1-86064-603-4.
  30. ^ New Book of Middle Eastern Food, 2000, ISBN 0-375-40506-2
  31. ^
  32. ^ "What Is Baklava—and Where to Find the Best Baklava in Istanbul? – Witt Magazine". Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  33. ^ Esther Brunner, "A sweet journey: Güllüoğlu baklava" Turkish Daily News, June 14, 2008.full text
  34. ^ "Bsanna News, February 21, 2008". 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  35. ^ "Publication of an application pursuant to Article 50(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs".  
  36. ^ Theodore Kyriakou and Charles Campion, The Real Greek at Home, London 2004
  37. ^ The flower of paradise and other Armenian tales by Bonnie C. Marshall, Virginia A. Tashjian, Libraries Unlimited, 2007, p. 179, ISBN 1-59158-367-5
  38. ^ N. Ramazani, "BĀQLAVĀ", Encyclopaedia iranica, Volume 3, Issues 5–8, page 729.
  39. ^ Food and Booze: A Tin House Literary Feast, Michelle Wildgen, Nicole J. Georges, Tin House Books, 2007, ISBN 0-9773127-7-1, ISBN 978-0-9773127-7-1; page 200.
  40. ^ "1000Places : Photo Keywords : madaba : MADABA – A tray of Jordanian baklava—a pastry made of layers of dough filled with chopped nuts, mainly pistachios, and sweetened with sugar and honey syrup.". 2008-01-16. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  41. ^ "Baklava recipe on Shahiya". Retrieved 2012-04-22. 


  • Reuven Amitai-Preiss and David O. Morgan, eds., The Mongol Empire and Its Legacy Brill, 1999. ISBN 90-04-11946-9.
  • Paul D. Buell, "Mongol Empire and Turkicization: The Evidence of Food and Foodways", p. 200ff, in Amitai-Preiss, 1999.
  • Christian, David. Review of Amitai-Preiss, 1999, in Journal of World History 12:2:476 (2001).
  • Perry, Charles. "The Taste for Layered Bread among the Nomadic Turks and the Central Asian Origins of Baklava", in A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (ed. Sami Zubaida, Richard Tapper), 1994. ISBN 1-86064-603-4.
  • Roden Claudia, "A New Book of Middle Eastern Food" ISBN 0-14-046588-X
  • Vryonis, Speros, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor, 1971. Quoted in Perry (1994).
  • Wasti, Syed Tanvir, "The Ottoman Ceremony of the Royal Purse", Middle Eastern Studies 41:2:193–200 (March 2005)

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.