by Caroline

Quick: name a Turkish food.

If you said falafel, go read my post about the falafel in Paris and then come back. We did eat falafel in Turkey occasionally, always part of a meze platter; we never saw it offered on its own in a sandwich.

We prepared for our trip to Turkey by eating at Turkish restaurants and cooking from a Turkish cookbook, including baking two different kinds of bread: simit and pide.

We did not prepare for Turkey by seeking out, making, or eating any baklava, because we figured it would be a) an easy sell for the kids and b) ubiquitous in Turkey.

So of course, somehow we didn’t eat any. And then when we came home, the kids complained. So we made it at home.

They continue to complain because we didn’t make the phyllo by hand, but until someone buys me a bigger kitchen and a pastry sheeter, I’ll continue to buy phyllo from the grocery store. Because with store-bought phyllo, making baklava is easy enough for the kids to do while I just hang out snapping pictures:

I read many different recipes for baklava, from Joy of Cooking to Gourmet to my Turkish cookbook, and it can get rather complicated if you let it, but really all you need is phyllo, melted butter, nuts, and simple syrup and/or honey. We made one with some rosewater for flavoring, which tasted too much like potpourri, and another with a little cinnamon and orange zest, which we liked much better. Explore recipes, play with ingredients, and chop, brush and layer your way to a tasty dessert.