National Baklava Day Date in the current year: November 17, 2024

National Baklava Day November 17 is the perfect day to savor delicious pastry without feeling guilty because it is National Baklava Day. This unofficial food holiday is dedicated to one of the most famous dishes of Ottoman cuisine, which has found its way into many modern cuisines.

Baklava is a layered pastry dessert that originated in the Ottoman cuisine and has many regional variations. It is made of filo (phyllo) pastry (very thin unleavened dough popular in Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisines) filled with chopped nuts. Most recipes involve alternating layers of dough and nuts that are held together by honey or syrup.

The modern form of baklava is believed to have developed in the imperial kitchens at the Sultan’s Topkapı Palace in Constantinople (now Istanbul). The pre-Ottoman roots of baklava are unclear because the tradition of layered desserts could be borrowed from Ancient Greek or Roman, Arab, and even Assyrian cuisine. The first use of the word baklava in English is dated 1650.

Baklava is typically made in large baking sheets. Several layer of phyllo dough are laid in the pan, separated with with vegetable oil or melted butter. A layer of chopped pistachios, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or other nuts is placed on top, then covered with more layers of dough. Most recipes have many alternating layers of phyllo and nuts.

Baklava is then cut into rectangular, triangular, or diamond-shaped pieces and baked at a moderate temperature (180 °C/356 °F) for about half an hour. After baking, the cooled dessert is soaked with syrup, which may include rosewater, orange blossom water, or honey. It binds the layers together and gives baklava additional flavor. Baklava is usually cooled to room temperature and garnished with ground nuts before serving. In some parts of Turkey, baklava is often served with ice cream or kaymak (a type of dairy food that resembles clotted cream).

As we’ve already mentioned above, there are many regional variations of baklava across multiple cuisines: Armenian, Azerbaijani, Balkan, Crimean Tatar, Greek, Iranian, Turkish, and others. For example, Greek baklava is usually made with hazelnuts and flavored with cinnamon, whereas Iranian baklava typically contains walnuts and is flavored with cardamom.

Algerian baklava is stuffed with walnuts and almonds, flavored with orange flower water, and drizzled in honey after baking. In Armenia, Greek-style baklava is flavored with cloves and cinnamon and consists of 33 layers of dough, which represent the years of Jesus Christ’s life on Earth.

The origins of National Baklava Day are unclear, but don’t let it stop you from celebrating this amazing holiday and enjoying mouthwatering pastry. You can go out to a Greek or Turkish restaurant that serves baklava, find a bakery that sells it, or even try you hand at cooking baklava (although we should warn you that this dessert is not easy to make). And don’t forget to snap a photo of your baklava before eating it and share it on social media with the hashtag #NationalBaklavaDay to spread the word about the holiday.

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Unofficial Holidays



National Baklava Day, unofficial holiday, observances in the United States, food days, food holidays, Ottoman cuisine