Güllaç (read ‘gullatch’) is a very delicate, traditional Turkish dessert that dates way back to the early Ottoman Empire. It is a very simple dessert made with only a few ingredients. The main ingredient for güllaç is the very thin wafer-like sheets of dough that are made with a mixture of cornstarch, water and flour. This dough is spread out very thin and left to dry out, making it possible to store them for long periods of time. This dessert can be consumed during any season and throughout the year but it is especially highly ranked during Ramadan, the month of fasting for muslims.
In Turkey, the thin sheets are readily available in airtight packages containing about ten sheets of approximately 40 cm in diameter each. So all it takes to prepare this white, fluffy, milky dessert is just some milk, sugar and nuts to use as filling and some pomegranate arils for decor. Last but not least a dash of rose water is added to give a most elegant and subtle flavor for which this dessert is actually named after. The name ‘güllaç’ is derived from two words ‘gül’ meaning rose and ‘aş’ meaning food in Turkish. I chose to name this silky soft, smooth dessert after angels because just looking at it reminds me of angel’s wings.
You may be able to find ‘güllaç’ sheets as well as edible rosewater in food markets that sell Mediterranean delicacies or you can search for them online.
For further information and some more details on this exotic dessert you can click here
- 250 gr ‘gullatch’ sheets (about 8 or 10 sheets of approximately 40 cm in diameter)
- 1,8 liters of whole fat milk
- 300 gr caster sugar (about 1 1/4 cup)
- 200 gr walnuts (or pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds)
- Ground pistachios (to decorate)
- Rosewater (use to your preference)
Step by step method
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- Combine milk and sugar in a pot and place over medium-high heat. This ratio of sugar to milk is just about the right amount for me and my family. We don’t like our desserts too sweet. You can try varying the amount of sugar to your taste and preference. Bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. Take pot off the heat and set aside to cool down to about 35-37 C (about 95 F). If you don’t have a thermometer you can just check with your little finger, if you can count to 8 or 10 and still keep your finger in the warm milk it means the temperature should be just about right!
- Once the sweet milk has reached the desired temperature you can add about 1 to 2 teaspoons of edible rosewater. This step is optional. You may choose to prepare the dessert with plain sweetened milk and add a few drops of rosewater when serving.
- Choose a large dish or pan with relatively high sides. I prefer a round pan of about 35 cm in diameter. You can use rectangular dish as well. In any case you will need to break the sheets into 2 or 3 pieces. Place a couple of ladles of milk on the bottom of the dish and place the güllaç sheets into the milk. Continue with a few pieces of güllaç sheet and a couple of ladles milk alternately until you have used up all. You can sprinkle your nuts halfway through this process.
- Cover the dish with a clean kitchen towel or cloth and leave to soak for 4 hours. Then place in refrigerator for at least 5-6 hours to cool thoroughly before serving.
- Güllaç, or Angel’s Dessert as I choose to call it, is most typically served with a few pomegranate arils and/or walnut halves, a sprinkling of ground pistachios etc.