Gullac Ramadan 3

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In Turkish culture, there are some certain dishes which are made on special days or occasions. Sesame Rings, which I wrote on before,  are one of them. And today I want to share another special dish made just in Ramadan month. This is a simple, but tasty dessert called gullac (güllaç in Turkish letters). I don’t want to translate it into English as it might be nonsense. And I didn’t  rename it in English as I couldn’t find what I could call it. If you have any suggestions seeing the photos or reading this post, I’d be so glad to hear. In Turkish gül means rose and means food; gullac  is the abbreviation of güllü aş, which means food with rose. Noone calls it güllü aş today, gullac is easier to pronounce, so it is the modern name of this yummy dessert. So what is the relation of rose with this dessert? Actually, it’s not the rose, but rose water which has that relationship. Rose water used to be the main flavor in this dessert in Ottoman culture because of its refreshing effect. However, today, it depends on your taste to add rose water or not. Some people use it, some don’t. Personally, I don’t love its flavor in gullac much, so I prefer not using it. But it doesn’t mean it tastes bad, it gives a quite refreshing flavor to the dessert.

pomegranate

Another Ottoman tradition about gullac is that it’s always decorated with pomegranate and I love to see these cute red beads on the white surface of this dessert. I think they complete each other and address to our eyes first. And I love to add a third wonderful ingredient for garnish. Pistachios! When you have these three at the same time, the pleasure you feel doubles.

You can see gullac at patisseries and at markets just in Ramadan. Just like dates,in Turkey it is special for Ramadan. This simple and easy dessert is made from gullac sheets. You may think that they are similar to phyllo sheets, but these are totally different. Gullac sheets are so white, thin and crispy. Today, people don’t make these sheets themselves as it requires special talents. These are sold in packages at the markets. And there are about 15 sheets in a package. As far as I know, there are two big companies producing and selling gullac to markets, Saffetabdullah Gullaclari and Istanbul Gullac.

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Gullac sheets are simply made of corn starch, wheat flour and water. In the early times of Ottoman Empire, people used to make sheets from corn starch, flour and water and they could keep these for months. As these sheets  are dried and got crispy, people used to soften them with milk and sugar. I guess it wasn’t a kind of dessert those times, but people used to have it as a main dish.  The best part of it for those peple was its simple ingredients. And keeping the dried sheets for long might be the second reason for people to love it. Then as the empire got richer, it turned out to be a dessert special for the palace and it became sultans’ favorite. And today, when you tend to buy the dessert (not the sheets) from a patisseire, you will see that it’s not that cheap. It has that fame as the palace dessert thanks to sultans, it deserves to be expensive, doesn’t it? Business people always know their job!

You can find how gullac sheets are prepared here. As you’ll read here, these sheets are completely natural, they don’t have any additives. Moreover, it is a very light dessert. These are just two of the reasons why people prefer gullac to end their iftar meal with something sweet. You know, in Ramadan, muslims don’t eat or drink anything from sunrise till sunset, so their body needs more sugar than usual because of hunger. Besides meeting people’s sugar need, gullac also strengthen their bodies with vitamins B and E it contains.

gullac6 Gullac Ingredients -    10 gullac sheets -    1 ½ kg milk -    350g sugar -    A cup of crumbled walnut -    Pistachio and pomegranate for garnish

Put milk and sugar (and 1 tbsp rosewater if you like) in a pot and heat it until the sugar melts. Stir it occasionally. It shouldn’t be too hot to touch, so let it cool a little. When it gets warm enough, we can start to make our dessert. If you use it hot, your dessert gets mushy.

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Lay a gullac sheet on an average size tray. Wet it with the warm milk. Repeat this with five sheets. After the fifth one, spread the crumbled walnut on it. Then lay the rest five sheets one by one and wet each of them with milk. When you finish with the tenth one, pour the rest of the milk on it. They don’t need to be very good in shape while arranging them in the tray. They will combine when they get wet with milk. After pouring the milk, you will see the sheets are rising, do not touch them. Cover it with stretch film and put it in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

I always leave the garnishing part to the serving time, otherwise pomegranates and pistachio may change the color of gullac. After taking it from refrigerator, cut it in squares or rectangles, garnish and serve.

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Comments

  1. OysterCulture says

    Zerrin, What an interesting and delicious looking dish. I did a bit of research on it to see if I could find an English name, no luck in my brief search but I did discover a few interesting facts:
    1. this dish is thought to be the 1st version of baklava – while there are now 2 separate dishes, this was the first one. Now they are fairly distinctive but apparently that was not always the case.

    2. This dish was actually developed in Mongol Court in the 14th century and through the travels during Ottoman Empire was brought back to Turkey.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Güllaç
    http://www.europe-cities.com/en/694/turkey/eating-out/706_gullac/

  2. says

    Is this dessert only done for the Ramadan month? What a pity to no having it more often because it looks rich and elegant :) Love the addition of rose water!

    Cheers!

    Gera

  3. says

    ohhh very interesting! I’ve wondered what kind of traditional dishes are made during Ramadan

  4. Leesie says

    I found it amazing at just how this product is made and the beautiful dessert that it can be made into – the photograph is so lovely, I wish I can try a piece…maybe someday! ;o)

  5. says

    Wow, love all the nuts, and the pomegranate, and the rosewater. That sounds like such an appealing dessert.

  6. says

    Zerrin, what an enlightening post! I have 2 large packages of gullac sheets at home. My good Turkish girlfriend gave them to me (they sell in Turkish stores here) a while ago, but I haven’t had a chance to use them up yet. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. says

    Hugging The Coast- Thank god we have pomegranates! They always beautify the dish.

    Gera- Unfortunately we can’t find it at anywhere except Ramadan. Maybe we can find the sheets at big markets and make it at home.

    Jessie- Ramadan is the month of traditional foods here and I will try to share more.

    Lisa- If you have a Turkish market nearby, please give it a chance. It’s so easy and incredibly tasty.

    Lowellpendon- Thank you for visi,ting and commenting.

    Oyster- Thank you for sharing these two facts about gullac. Yes, it’s said that this is the first version of baklava as you said. I didn’t know that it was developed in Mongol Court. Dishes are traveling, too :)

    Jenn- Actually, these are so crispy and white unlike filo dough, but they have the same purpose: Ready to use!

    Leesie- I’m always surprised how these simple sheets turn out to be a fantastic dessert. Hope you try it one day.

    Diana- It’s always a great dessert to surprise your guests.

    Farida- You’re lucky to have that Turkish friend. Hope you love the dessert when you try.

    JMom- Thank you.

  8. says

    I had never heard of gullac sheets until now…very interesting! This dish is so pretty garnished with pistachio and pomegranate!

  9. says

    I love learning about your culture!!!!You have fantastic dishes in your country, that is a delicious dessert.

  10. dilek says

    It is one of my favourite desserts!!! It is really light and yummy.There are very good Middle Estern stores in the USA.

  11. Filiz says

    Merhaba Zerrin bu yaz Turkiyeden Gullac aldim ve mutfak dolabinda beni bekliyor. Uzun suredir bekliyor diyebilirim cunku hangi tarifi kullansam diye dusunuyor ve karar veremiyorum ya bu tarif benim gullacimi mahvederse korkusundayim ve nereden yine alacagim canim gullacimi evet yeniden 1 sene daha beklemem gerekecek diye gullacim beni dolapta bekliyor ve senin istah acici gullac tarifini gorunce icim icime sigmadi ozellikle step by step instructions made me so happy. Thanks for the recipe and I love your blog title. Reminds me of this saying”Sharing is Caring”

  12. mirela says

    Is there any way i could make those gullac sheets at home?Do you have a recipe?Google wasn’t of much help.

    • Selma says

      Mirela. I wanted to know the same… But it seems that you can only buy them :/

      And that’s what I did when I visited Istanbul about 2 weeks ago :) I bought few packages:)

      Thanks to Author for sharing recipe!

      • says

        Mirela and Selma- Nobody in Turkey makes these sheets at home, and unfortunately we don’t know how to make. We just buy them from markets. I guess you can find them from Middle East markets.

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