Baklava is a sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo dough (phyllo dough) filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey, syrup, or milk. Baklava is an ancient food that originated in the Middle East, but many baklava types are now available worldwide!
The sweet, crispy baklava we know and love comes in a variety of different flavors in every city in the world. Some differ because they are made with different nuts like pistachios or walnuts, while others have unique recipes such as Sütlü Nuriye, in which milk is mixed with syrup and added to the filo dough after it’s baked.
A good Baklava is made with homemade, thin sheets of filo dough. It’s also essential to use good quality butter and the right amount of sugar in the syrup. Lemon juice is often added into syrup to stop baklava crystallizing.
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While there are many types of baklava, they all share a few key ingredients: flaky phyllo dough, syrup, and roasted tree nuts. Groundnuts such as peanuts are not common in baklava making.
In this blog post, we will discuss 15 different types of baklava, from traditional to exotic.
1. Pistachio Baklava
Pistachio baklava is the most popular and original type of baklava. One bite will have you hooked! Initially developed in Turkey and Syria, pistachio baklava is a rich and sweet pastry made of 40 thin layers of dough (phyllo) filled with ground pistachios.
It’s not just the sweet taste of baklava that makes it so appealing; the variety of pistachios used in it also makes a big difference. The pistachios used in this dessert are baby pistachios instead of regular full-grown ones like what you would find in a supermarket. This is because baby pistachios are greener and have more flavor and fewer tannins. The best pistachios suitable for baklava grow in Turkey, Syria, and Iran.
Pistachio baklava, with its fantastic blend of crunchy nuts and crispy pastry, has been the most popular baklava type since medieval times.
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2. Walnut Baklava
While pistachios grow only in a handful of countries, walnuts can be grown nearly anywhere. This is why walnut baklava is one of the most popular baklava types in the world.
Walnuts are finely crushed before they’re dusted between the layers of this baklava. They offer a unique flavor that is both earthy and tangy, making for an overall gentle taste on your palette.
Just like the pistachio version, this one is also offered in many restaurants around the world and is equally delicious.
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3. Dry Baklava (Kuru Baklava)
Baklavas generally do not spoil quickly; however, the sugar crystallizes after 3-5 days, and the baklava stop tasting delicious and fresh.
Dry baklava is soaked in a little amount of syrup, but it’s denser than the syrups in other types. This makes it last longer, so you can enjoy this sweet treat for up to 30 days without going bad or crystallizing.
If you’re planning to take some baklava home as a gift, then dry baklava should be your choice. All you need is to keep it at room temperature, and the sweet treat will last for about one month!
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4. Homemade Baklava
Making the filo sheets thin enough to create 40 layers for baklava (yes, traditional baklava has around 40 sheets of filo) takes a lot of time and experience. This is why it’s often left up to experienced pastry chefs, who are recognized as their own “baklava masters.”
However, when we make baklava at home, since we ourselves aren’t baklava masters, the sheets won’t be very thin and transparent. As a result, homemade baklavas will only have as few as 15 to 20 layers of filo sheet. Homemade baklava is also cut in a diamond shape.
Long story short, if you see a baklava type called “homemade baklava” at a store, it is made with less and thicker filo sheets.
Some homemade baklavas in Turkey are made with semolina and flavored with rosewater.
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5. Şöbiyet (Cream Baklava, Shaabiyat or Warbat)
With the perfect combination of “water buffalo clotted cream” (or fresh cream) and classic pistachio baklava, Şöbiyet offers a fair amount of sweetness in a lighter taste for those who are tired of other types of baklava’s intense sugary flavor.
This fresh cream used between the layers of baklava gives it a light, refreshing taste. The only downside of this baklava type is its short shelf life that it should be consumed within a day.
Warbat, the Arabic version of this baklava is filled with custard in the middle.
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6. Chocolate Baklava
Chocolate Baklava is a new type of baklava in Turkey and has been popping up mostly around touristy areas. Although it’s gaining popularity among locals, many Turks still have yet to try this delicious dessert out for themselves!
However, if you are sensitive to excessive sugar and chocolate is not your flavor, this won’t be your favorite baklava.
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7. Havuç Dilim Baklava (Carrot Slice Baklava)
As the name suggests, this baklava is prepared in a large tray and then cut into shapes similar to carrots. Therefore, it has a larger serving on the plate.
Carrot slice baklava can be made with walnut or pistachio filling. It is popular baklava, and you can easily find it in every baklava store in Turkey.
Dondurma (Turkish ice cream) or fresh cream is the perfect complement to carrot slice baklava; you can open up your baklava and place your dondurma, making it a delectable sandwich.
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8. Bülbül Yuvası (Nightingale Nest)
Bülbül yuvası is an Anatolian dessert made with paper-thin sheets of dough. Instead of stacking filo sheets on top of each other, these filo sheets are rolled around a thin rolling pin to form a cylindrical shape. The hole in the middle is then filled with walnut or pistachios.
Bülbül yuvası, which translates as “Nightingale’s nest,” gets its name for resembling a bird’s nest.
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9. Sütlü Nuriye
In 1980, the Mayor of Istanbul responded to complaints about high baklava prices in town by regulating baklava prices.
Güllüoğlu family (one of the best baklava producers in the world) couldn’t offer their top quality baklava at a lower price, and as a solution, they created a new type of cheap baklava; Sütlü Nuriye. It is made with hazelnuts instead of pistachios and soaked in milk so that it will weigh more.
After all, maybe this was the type of baklava we needed in Turkey; perfectly balanced, sweet but still light, and reasonably priced.
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10. Fıstık Dolama (Pistachio Wrap)
Finely chopped pistachios are wrapped in an extremely thin and transparent filo dough and soaked in sugar syrup. This is one of the baklava varieties that tastes nothing like traditional pastry-based baklava but more like a pistachio energy bar.
Its shiny green color makes it quite appealing, and it is as delicious as it looks.
11. Yaprak Şöbiyet (Leaf Şöbiyet)
Yaprak şöbiyet is a combination of Fıstık Dolama and Şöbiyet. Finely chopped pistachios are wrapped in a thin layer of filo dough and filled with thick clotted cream (kaymak) in the middle. Some flavors work well with the baklava filling, but pistachio and clotted cream are divine.
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12. Saray Burması (Palace Baklava)
One of the favorite desserts served during the Ottoman Empire for sultans in their palace was Saray Burması. It is prepared with filo dough, melted butter, crushed walnuts, and sugar sherbet.
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13. Dilber Dudağı (Lady Lips)
The name of this dessert is a nod to its alluring shape. However, unlike the lips, this dessert is as crispy as it can get.
Dilber dudağı is prepared with yogurt, milk, egg, lemon, sugar, flour, butter, and water and sweetened by pouring cold sugar syrup (sherbet) on fresh and warm pastry.
14. Midye Baklava (Mussle Baklava)
Meet the new style Turkish baklava “Midye Baklava”. This design is trendy nowadays in baklava shops. It has “kaymak” cream filling with walnuts or pistachios.
The appealing look of mussle baklava encourages many restaurant owners to include it in their menus. Inevitably, the scrumptious taste and crispy texture will tempt you to overeat.
Baklava is a family dessert that has been around for centuries and can be found in many different cultures. Ottoman empire was a multicultural empire, and Turks, Greeks, Arabs, Bulgarians, Russians, Armenians, Kurds, Persians, Lebanese, Albanians, and Hungarians created this delight of the world together.
There are dozens of different types of baklava and recipes, so feel free to experiment with your favorite ingredients. Don’t feel like you have to stick with the same one over and over again. Mix it up! You might find something new or even your favorite baklava type out there waiting for you to try it.
If you ever visit Istanbul, check out our list of the best baklava shops in Istanbul to get the best of this divine dessert.
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