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Turkish Baklava vs Greek Baklava: 7 Differences To Know Now

If you are into Mediterranean deserts, you must be familiar with Baklava.

This sweet and delicious pastry consists primarily of phyllo leaves.

Also, its crispy layers are filled with nuts and butter.

Then, it is soaked in light sugar syrup.

These are just the essential characteristics of any baklava you might come across.

However, there are two versions of this delectable pastry: Turkish and Greek.

Generally, there is much debate about the actual origin of baklava and the differences between the two varieties.

So, if you want to know more about Turkish and Greek baklava, keep reading this blog.

We will shed more light on their similarities and differences.

Turkish Baklava vs. Greek Baklava
The main differences between Turkish and Greek baklava are their origin, shape, filling, syrup, taste, layers, and uses. Turkish and Greek baklava have sweetened syrup, but the Greek variety has honey syrup, while the Turkish type has sugar syrup.

What is Turkish Baklava?

Turkish baklava consists of phyllo layers that are filled with nuts.

Nuts stuffed into baklava layers are usually thinly chopped whole nuts.

After filling the layers, the entire pastry goes into the oven to be fully baked.

Meanwhile, honey or sugar syrup is prepared to cover the freshly baked dessert.

The history of Turkish baklava dates back millennia ago.

Some evidence indicates that the early recipe was created during the 8th century BCE.

However, the recipe became international as the Ottoman Empire expanded.

So during the 15th century, Turkish baklava reached parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Turkish baklava is famous for being very sweet and using very sweet syrup.

Making the syrup for Turkish baklava typically necessitates a large amount of sugar and water.

Additionallythis syrup has a different aroma due to the addition of rosewater.

Sometimes, a few drops of lemon juice are used as well.

Any baklava will have nuts as filling, but Turkish baklava sticks to one type of nut.

Authentic Turkish baklava is only filled with pistachios.

A less common variety of Turkish can be stuffed with walnuts instead of pistachios.

However, it differs from what you would find in most stores or houses in Turkey.

What is Greek Baklava?

Greek baklava is famous for its light brown color and its extra crispiness.

Like the Turkish version, it is made from filo pastry dough and syrup.

However, it is mainly filled with walnuts.

It is not common in Greece to hear the word “baklava.”

Instead, they call it “siropiasta.”

Despite using walnuts as the primary type of nut in the Baklava recipe, you can find other, less common varieties stuffed with almonds.

One of the key distinctions of Greek baklava is its rich, buttery taste.

This flavor primarily comes from using rich and fresh butter.

This butter is known in Greek as “galaktos.”

This refers to a butter mix extracted from two dairy animals; goats and sheep.

However, you won’t find Greek baklava made with this butter mix outside of Greece.

Instead, Greek baklava makers use rich cow’s butter, as the former blend can have a sharp taste and aroma. 

Another major contributor to the Greek Baklava’s flavor is the touch of cinnamon that is added to the syrup.

This simple touch adds increased aroma and a glimpse of warmth.

Sometimes, to make the syrup richer and denser, baklava makers add some honey to it.

Differences between Turkish Baklava and Greek Baklava

At first glance, all types of baklava are the same.

But their common Mediterranean roots do not make them identical.

If you taste them simultaneously, you will uncover different flavors.

Also, they are not created from the same ingredients.

1. Origin

As the name suggests, Turkish baklava comes from Turkey.

It became trendy during the time of the Ottoman Empire. 

Greek baklava, on the other hand, is believed to have spread during the rule of the Byzantine Empire.

2. Shape

Generally, you have the freedom to cut baklava as you desire.

However, standard Turkish baklava is cut into circular or triangular pieces.

 Greek baklava, on the other hand, is commonly found in squares.

3. Filling

Another distinction between Turkish and Greek baklava is their filling.

Turkish baklava is mainly filled with finely cut pistachios.

You will spot the green color of the pistachio filling from a distance

Greek baklava, on the other hand, is served with walnuts.

Despite the presence of other fillings, they are less common than standard fillings.

4. Syrup

In this comparison, you can rely on the syrup to distinguish them.

You will find the pastry soaked in sugary syrup after baking in both varieties. 

However, the ingredients of Turkish baklava syrup are sugar, water, and a few drops of orange or lemon juice.

The syrup of Greek baklava, on the other hand, mainly consists of honey.

The honey syrup replaces the mix of water and sugar.

It also has some cinnamon powder and ground cloves. 

These additional components make the syrup’s flavor different from Turkish baklava syrup.

5. Taste  

Turkish baklava and Greek baklava taste like sweetened and baked phyllo pastry.

However, Greek baklava has a deeper and sharper taste of butter.

This is because the Greeks cover the multiple dough sheets with a mixture of sheep and goat butter.

On the other hand, Turkish baklava has cow’s butter or ghee within its layers.

Another notable difference in the flavor is that Greek baklava can be a bit spicier.

This is due to the presence of cloves and cinnamon in the syrup.

6. Layers

Layers of Turkish baklava are fewer in number than Greek baklava.

Additionally, Turkish baklava must be slightly soft in the bottom layers while maintaining its crispiness in the upper layers. 

On the other hand, Greek baklava is crispy in all its layers.

7. Uses

Both types of baklava are used as desserts.

However, Greek baklava is commonly present on special occasions, particularly at Greek weddings.

Turkish baklava is most widely used for celebrating religious fests. 

Turkish Baklava vs. Greek Baklava: are they the same?

Turkish and Greek baklava is different and is not from the same type of pastry.

They are similar but won’t taste the same, as the latter can be slightly spicy.

Also, Greek baklava is soaked in honey syrup, while Turkish baklava is soaked in sugar syrup.

Furthermore, Greek baklava is a bit intense in taste due to the added goat and sheep butter.

Lastly, Turkish baklava is mostly triangular with pistachio filling, while Greek baklava is square-shaped with walnut stuffing.

Regardless of the differences, you will have something sweet and mouth-watering whenever you go for either of them.

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