This is the last of the Turkish desserts series. And, supposedly, this is the healthiest category! Minus the sugar of course.
There are as many fruit desserts as the fruits in Turkey. In many cases, there are at least ten different versions of desserts from one fruit. So, I decided to limit this category to a few favorites of mine and to a few unique Turkish desserts.
Hosaf: Hosaf is a compote of dried fruits. It is very light. Although it contains sugar, at least you get the benefits of the dried fruits. You can use any fruits. The most common ones are raisins, apricots, and plums. All you need is water, a little sugar, and dried fruits.
Komposto: As the name implies, it is the compote of fresh fruits. Again, you can use any fruits. Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, you can adjust the sugar content. You can add cloves, cinnamon sticks, and other spices that can enhance the flavor of the fruit. My favorite is apple komposto. It is very light. It serves as a light dessert.
Ayva tatlisi (Quince Dessert): As a fruit, quince is hard to find in many groceries, especially in the United States. And it is hard to eat as a fruit since it truly gives you a puckered mouth. To understand the value of it, you need to give quince the right treatment by just sweetening a little – then you make the quince the queen of the fruit desserts. When it is prepared as a dessert, it becomes tender, sweet, and aromatic. Top it with Turkish kaymak (clotted cream made from buffalo milk), and you seal the dinner. You can find this dessert in may restaurants in Turkey, especially when the quince is in season, in late fall.
Kabak tatlisi (Pumpkin Dessert): Pumpkin is a staple of many desserts during the fall season. I love pumpkin pie and pumpkin muffins. I also make Turkish kabak tatlisi with lots of walnuts. It is very addictive, so make sure you do not make a big batch. Here is a recipe that you can follow.
Cezerye: A native dessert to Tarsus (where I was born) and Mersin, the name Cezerye comes from the Arabic word Cezer (meaning “carrot”). There is a large population of Arabs in the South East of Turkey, and it is possible that cezerye was introduced to the region by the Arabs. Cezerye is made from caramelized carrots, nuts (walnuts, pistachios, or hazelnuts), and spices (clove, cinnamon, ginger) covered with lots of shredded coconuts. Since coconuts are not native plants in Anatolia, it is possible that this dessert might have an Indian influence.
Pestil (Fruit Rolls): These wonderful dried pulverized fruit sheets have nothing in common with the Fruit-Rollups, the pectin-based, artificially flavored fruit snacks popular with today’s children. The main ingredients are fruit (plums, grapes, apple, mulberries are the most common ones), starch, sugar (before sugar became a main sweetener, grapes molasses and honey are used), and sometimes nuts. These nutrition packed fruit sheets make great snacks with no artificial ingredients.
Here is a recipe for Erik Pestili (Plum Pestil):
Erik Pestili (Plum pestil)
(Makes approximately 450 grams (1 pound))
Ingredients: 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) slightly tart purple plums, de-stoned if possible
2 tbsp (2 fluid ounces) water
sugar to taste
almond oil for greasing tray
- Place plums and water in a large pan and simmer until fruit becomes soft.
- Push through a sieve to remove skins and stone if necessary.
- Return to cleaned pan, sweeten according to taste and simmer until all the liquid evaporates and a thick paste forms.
- Pour into very lightly greased trays to two or three millimeter thickness.
- Allow to dry for several days in direct sunlight, then roll and store in plastic wrap or an airtight container.
Be the judge, is pelte something to be enjoyed or not! Serve it with fresh or preserved fruit pieces, unsalted slivered almonds and a dollop of clotted cream (kaymak)!
Bon Appetite! Afiyet Olsun!