Milk Desserts
Syrup Sweets
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Syrup Sweets

Turkish sweets are often categorized differently than in the west. The desserts below are quite diverse but what they have in common is that the finished product is sweetened after cooking with a pre-made sugar syrup.

İrmik Helvası
Semolina Halvah


350 gr coarse semolina (2 c)
165 gr clarified butter (3/4 c)
420 gr sugar (1 ¾ c)
875 gr boiling water or milk (3 ½ c)
¼ c pine nuts

Heat the clarified butter in a saucepan, and add the semolina and pine nuts. Stir on medium heat until the pine nuts and semolina have browned lightly This takes around 40 minutes. When the semolina is lightly brown, add the boiling water or milk. Add this gradually as it will boil violently and produce a lot of steam. Stir well, then add the sugar and mix well. Cover and allow to cook on very low heat for around 20 minutes. The remove from the heat and allow to cool to lukewarm. Stir the halvah and put in its serving dish.

Un Helvası
Flour Halvah


250 gr flour (1 2/3 c)
190 gr (1 c) butter
275 gr sugar (1 1/3 c)
1250 gr water (5 c)

Heat the butter in a heavy saucepan, and add the flour. Cook stirring until it browns lightly, about 30-40 minutes at medium low heat. In another pot, combine the sugar with the water and bring to a boil. Add this syrup to the flour and butter. Be careful to add it gradually, as it will boil violently at first. Stir well, the cover and allow to cook on very low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool to lukewarm and shape as desired.

Tulumba Tatlısı
“Pumped” Pastry


30 gr melted clarified butter (1/6 c)
340 gr water (1 ½ c)
230 gr all purpose flour (1 ½ c)
4 eggs
1 t salt
Vegetable oil for cooking

500 gr sugar (2 cups)
435 gr water (1 ¾ c)
1 t lemon juice

In a wide pan mix 2 c sugar and 1 ¾ c water with the lemon juice and allow to boil, and dissolve all the sugar. Set aside to cool completely. In another saucepan melt the butter. Add the flour and  stir for two minutes or so without browning the flour to make a roux. Add the water and salt, and bring to a boil until the dough thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition, and beat the dough well. Put the dough in a pastry bag with a fluted tip. Heat the oil in a pan and squeeze the pastry out into short lengths into the oil. When the pastry is done, drain and put directly into the syrup, then arrange on a serving plate.

Raised Dough Fritters with Syrup


200 gr flour
200 gr warm water
20 gr butter
30 gr yeast
1 t salt
Oil for deep frying

For Frying:
220 gram olive oil

420 gr sugar
375 gr water
1 t lemon juice

First make syrup – combine sugar, water and lemon juice in a pan and bring to a boil, then remove from heat and set aside to cool. In another pan, mix the flour, yeast, butter, salt and water, and allow to rise slightly. When the dough is ready, either put the dough into a pastry bag with a thick round tip and squeeze balls off, cutting them to fall into the oil, or do it the traditional way: Take a handful of the dough and squeeze it out between your thumb and curled forefinger, cutting off pieces with a spoon and allowing them to drop into the oil. Let them cook, then drain and put into the syrup, then remove and serve warm. Dust with cinnamon if desired.



300 gr flour (2 c)
100 gr powdered sugar (2/3 c)
120 gr melted butter (2/3 c)
1 egg
½ t baking soda
1 t salt
15 almonds, blanched

375 gr sugar (1 ½ c)
300 gr water (1 ¼ c)
1 t lemon juice

First make the syrup: Combine sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and boil together for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. In another pan, mix the egg and the powdered sugar with a whisk. To this add the melted butter, which should not be too hot and whisk for 5 minutes. Add the salt, then gradually add the flour. Knead the dough well. Divide the dough into pieces the size of a large walnut, form into balls, then flatten lightly and place them on a baking sheet a finger’s width apart. Press a blanched almond into the center of each. Bake in a medium oven for 35-40 minutes, till lightly brown. Remove from oven and place the pastries immediately into the cold syrup. Remove and place on serving plates. Can be served warm or cold.

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