gastronome
of turkish desserts and a quest

I have, it seems, a weakness for baklava and other sticky-sweet middle eastern desserts. Preferably shared with a friend, with strong hot tea to accompany.

Gyro King (25 Grove, at Larkin) is a good cheap middle eastern cafe by Civic Center. No points for decor, but the food is fresh and tasty and the entire menu is under 10$. The men (and one woman) behind the counter are laid back but very friendly in their service, and they have a great selection of little filo- and semolina-based desserts. The tea comes hot and perfectly brewed and is served in little glass cups. It's the sort of place where the tv is always playing in a language I don't speak, and older men come to chat and sit and drink tea and eat sweets.

So. The challenge. I've flirted with these desserts long enough -- it's really time I got to know them..

According to the friendly staff, tonight I had bulbul yuvasi (sparrow's nest baklava) and revani (semolina cake).

Bulbul yuvasi is a filo-and-pistachio confection rolled up on itself into a snail (or nest) shape, with chopped pistachios on top. The texture is crunchy, softened with ghee and syrup.

Revani is a soft semolina cake served as a square cut from a pan. The texture is crumbly-sticky, very moist. Almost like a light semolina pudding more than a cake.

So I'm on a quest to complete a survey of middle eastern desserts available in the Bay area and learn all their names...

Stay tuned!

Posted by naomi on June 19, 2003 | TrackBack
Comments

This morning I remembered something else... bulbul means "nightingale", not sparrow.

As in cesm i bulbul, the nightingale's eye.

Posted by: naomi_traveller on June 20, 2003 8:59 AM

I lived the first 10 years of my life in Cyprus and I remembered a turkish dessert that you could by from stalls on the roadside. I have never had it since but would love to know how to prepare it. I think it was called (my spelling) mehalepi. It was white and had a jelly consistency and was served in iced rose water. It was delicious! would you have any ideas?

Posted by: heather balderson on November 7, 2003 11:20 PM

I think the anglicised spelling is "muhallebi". Issue 26 of Cornucopia (available as a back-issue for about 9 UK pounds) has an entire cookery article devoted to different types of muhallebi (with recipes) http://www.cornucopia.net/highlights26.html

This recipe is an excerpt:

Su Muhallebisi

Water Muhallebi with rose water and icing sugar

3 tablespoons cornflour
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons rosewater

1. Mix the cornflour and sugar into the cold milk and cook, stirring, over a moderate heat until it thickens. Cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Rinse out a shallow dish or individual bowls and, while they are still wet, pour the mixture in to a depth of less than an inch (1.5cm).
2. Leave to cool, then chill.
3. Serve cut into squares or turn the bowls out onto individual dessert plates. Sprinkle each serving generously with rosewater and spoon on the icing sugar.


From The Milky Way: a feast of Turkish milk puddings, Cornucopia 26

If I find any in SF, I will post! :)

Posted by: naomi_traveller on November 8, 2003 9:36 AM

your food looks so good and i can't what to taset it

Posted by: heather on January 22, 2004 10:52 AM

your food looks so good and i can't what to taset it

Posted by: heather on January 22, 2004 10:52 AM

i like cheese?!?

Posted by: Moo on June 24, 2005 5:51 AM

Are you making these on friday jim?!?!

Posted by: Richard anonymous of the continous void or arob on June 24, 2005 5:52 AM

I'm looking for a turkish dessert. The turkish name is (not sure of the spelling) Cumulay. Sounds like Come-u-lay (middle u is a short vowel
sound).

Thank you

Posted by: pat on January 9, 2006 3:13 PM
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