5 Unique Turkish Desserts

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Turkish cuisine is famous for its rich and diverse desserts. Baklava, künefe, kadayıf, tulumba, baklava, kazandibi, sütlaç, güllaç, zülbiye, and many others are well-known and beloved desserts worldwide. However, Turkey also has desserts that are unique to the country, not found in other nations or prepared in distinct ways. Here are some of them:


Aşure: Aşure is a dessert made by combining 12 different ingredients that are available throughout the year. These ingredients include wheat, chickpeas, dry beans, rice, lentils, barley, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, grapes, apricots, figs, and dates. Aşure is typically prepared during the month of Muharram and distributed as a communal meal.

Bici bici

Bici bici: This dessert is specific to İzmir. It is made from fine bulgur mixed with sugary water and lemon juice. Bici bici is usually served with clotted cream and walnuts.


Peynir Helvası (Cheese Halva): Predominantly made in Balıkesir, Bursa, Çanakkale, Tekirdağ, Kırklareli, and İzmit, this dessert has its roots in the Turkishmen nomads who settled in Balıkesir. It is also known as cheese halva and is made from a combination of cheese, semolina, and sugar.

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Katmer: Katmer is a dessert specific to Gaziantep. It’s made from thin pastry dough, clotted cream, and pistachios and is typically baked in the oven.


Zülbiye: This dessert is unique to İzmir and is made from dough and sugary syrup. It’s often served with clotted cream and Antep pistachios.

Some of the desserts mentioned above may have similar ingredients or techniques in other countries. For instance, aşure is also a common dessert in Iran, Iraq, and other Middle Eastern regions. Bici bici shares similarities with cold desserts made from similar ingredients in other places. Höşmerim has resemblances to cheese-based sweets made from comparable ingredients. Katmer has counterparts in other regions, and Zülbiye has variations in different places.

However, these desserts often have a distinct Turkish version. For example, aşure’s use of 12 different ingredients available throughout the year in Turkey sets it apart from aşure prepared in other countries. The use of fine bulgur specific to İzmir in bici bici differentiates it from similar cold desserts elsewhere. Höşmerim’s Adana-specific cheese and semolina make it unique, as does Katmer’s use of Gaziantep’s special clotted cream and pistachios. Zülbiye’s unique shape and flavor specific to İzmir make it stand out from other syrupy pastries prepared in other regions.

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Therefore, when prepared in their Turkish variations, these desserts are considered more unique and distinct compared to similar desserts found in other countries.

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