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Turkey — A Dessert Tour of a Faraway Location

In Turkey, dessert is more than the coda to a good meal; it’s a social occasion, one that can occur any time of day and best enjoyed with Turkish tea or coffee. But you don’t have to go all the way to Turkey to enjoy this country’s sweets. Take some inspiration from the following Turkish-inspired ideas and make them in the comfort of your own kitchen.

There’s a signature Turkish dessert called kaymakli kayisi, which is essentially cream-filled apricots. By simmering dried apricots over low heat until they’re tender, then separating the two halves and filling the inside with rich cream, you can make this unique delicacy. Almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts work well as garnishes, and the end result is a fruity-nutty delight. If you’re not inclined toward this particular combination, start with vibrant, vitamin-packed apricots (dried are fine) and make muffins or a loaf cake instead.

Turkish Tres Leches, known as trilece, is a melt-in-your-mouth sponge bread or butter cake that contains three different milks (officially, goat’s milk, cow’s milk and buffalo milk, but cow’s milk and cream work just as well; evaporated milk and condensed milk are also good options). It’s topped with a caramel layer, and some prefer to warm the caramel prior to serving. The end result is a bit like tiramisu. While this cake originally came from Albania, it’s now a staple of Turkish cuisine, and with good reason.

The list would not be complete without mention of baklava. Turkish-style baklava relies heavily upon pistachio nuts and butter while eschewing all of the spices and honey found in other countries’ versions. Turkey is famous for baklava bakeries and baklava pastry shops, particularly in Istanbul, but when making yours at home, it’s best enjoyed fresh from the oven.