Turkish 'Gullac.' A Dessert As Light And Fluffy As Angels

Thursday August 1, 2013

By Elizabeth Taviloglu, Guide for Turkish Food

As the owner of a sweet shop in Istanbul's historic Beyoglu district once told me, "Good 'gullac' (goul-LAHCH') is as white and fluffy as the angels, and it tastes as good, too." His line has stuck with me all these years.

Whenever I taste a fork full of freshly-prepared 'gullac,' his saying rings true. This delicate, light and flavorful Turkish dessert dates back to early Ottoman times.

Adopted from the peasantry and refined by royalty, this lovely dessert is made with layer upon layer of brittle, paper-thin leaves of dried cornstarch soaked in carefully-prepared sweetened milk. The final touch is a little bit of edible rose water to give it wonderful aroma and flavor.

Doesn't sound like much? When preparing 'gullac,' less is more.

Typical of many Turkish dishes, few and simple ingredients are transformed by proper technique to create flavors and textures that are other-wordly. In this case, heavenly.

When 'gullac' is done well, there's nothing like it. If you want to learn more about this traditional Turkish dessert, try this simple recipe for 'gullac' at home.

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