Gourmet Baklava Pastries – A Brief History

Gourmet Baklava Pastries – A Brief History

Baklava is a pastry that owes its origins to the Middle East countries and the Mediterranean region. Gourmet Baklava Pastries are an important feature in many cuisines from the Ottoman Empire. The original Baklava recipe has Phyllo dough, where Phyllo means leaf in Greek. This dough is filled wither with chopped almonds, walnuts or pistachios. This dish is then sweetened either with honey or with syrup and then served. Here is a brief history of the Baklava:

History of the Gourmet Baklava Pastries:

All the evidence presently available suggests that the Noten originated as a dessert in Central Turkey. While there are claims that there was another dish called the Proto-Baklava which existed before the Ottoman Empire came into existence, there is no evidence in any form to prove this. The first recorded proof of the Baklava recipe exists in a Chinese cookbook of the 1330’s. This was under the Mongol Dynasty. According to this recipe, the different layers of the Phyllo Dough were put one after the other into a mixture of sugar and warm milk.

The Mediterranean Baklava is known to serve either with fresh pomegranate or with walnuts. The desert is known to be reserved for very special occasions and is primarily eaten in the Middle East and other regions on the auspicious occasion of Ramadan. The interesting thing about the origin of Baklava is that the Turks as well as other ethnic groups from different Middle Eastern regions have their own version of this delightful and delicious pastry.

There is also another version of the history that Baklava recipe was first tried from thousands of years BC and it used to be the food served only to the rich and wealthy classes of the society till as late as the 19th century. There is as such, some evidence of the same in Greek literature which states that it was a delicacy served only to the rich people of the society.

In the early years, when there was no Baklava professional establishment to make it, the pastry dough was rough and had a texture like bread. It is said that when the Greek sailors visited the Mediterranean shores, they fell in love with this unique pastry and brought the Baklava recipe to Greece. Here it underwent many major changes, the biggest being in the recipe for making dough for the Baklava. This new technique made it possible for the makers at the professional Baklava to roll the dough so that it was as thin as a leaf. As such, here it got the name Phyllo, which, as mentioned earlier means leaf in Greece.

As time passed, the pastry underwent many changes and a number of cultures have contributed not only to its present form but also to the many variations that we see today in the gourmet baklava recipe. An interesting fact that you would like to know here is that while the desert has Middle Eastern origins, the baklava that we have today is French and was first made by a former pastry chef who worked for Marie Antoinette living in the Ottoman Empire after being exiled. He was soon taken in as a palace employee and developed the present dome-shaped way of creating serving this very popular dessert.

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