Tulumba Tatlısı: Turkey's Beloved Sweet And Crispy Dessert

Turkey is a country known for having some of the most drool-worthy desserts on the planet. While your current knowledge may start and end with crispy and crowd-pleasing baklava, we're here to let you know that Turkish cuisine is full of many more mouth-watering delicacies, many of which we consider must-tries. In fact, dairy lovers may be ecstatic to find out that the nation is often considered the pudding capital of the world. From tavuk göğsü, a unique popular pudding made with chicken breast, to sutlac, a creamy rice pudding, there are plenty of creamy confections to dive into.

However, among the myriad of fresh Turkish desserts you can find from quaint pastry shops or roadside stalls, there's one Turkish treat we can't stop thinking about: tulumba tatlısı. This fried and super-sweet street food can be found across the country, and it looks very similar to a churro. However, at only a couple of inches long, these mini treats are much shorter than a traditional churro. They also usually come smothered in a sugary lemon syrup that coats the crunchy outside of the pastry. The crisp exterior is tough to cut into, but once you break inside, the soft interior contrasts well.

Tulumba is the Turkish word for "pump," which not only alludes to how this dessert is made but also its ancient history.

History of tulumba tatlısı

Like most foods that stem from ancient roots, the dish's exact origins are not exactly known. However, it is likely that it dates all the way back to the Ottoman empire. And it seems that it's no accident why this dish appears very similar to churros.

Sephardic Jews traveled to Ottoman lands when they were expelled from their home country of Spain. Catholics in the nation pushed out Jews based on the perception that they held an excessive amount of economic sway over the kingdoms. This event is known as the Spanish inquisition, which took place in 1492.

It is thought that these Jews introduced their homeland's churros to the Ottomans. Specifically, they brought it to areas such as Thessaloniki, Izmir, and Thrace, which all have evidence of seeing some of the first tulumba.

This dessert became popular and spread throughout the region. All kinds of countries neighboring Turkey have adopted this treat. Places like Greece, Macedonia, and Bulgaria still enjoy this dessert today, as well.

Ingredients in tulumba tatlısı

Tulumba is not made of anything expensive or hard to access. The simplicity and affordability of this dish are perhaps what has kept it around so long as a staple treat in the country's street food scene. The ingredients in the dough are just water, flour, a few eggs, sugar, butter, semolina, and cornstarch. With a straightforward and hearty dough, it is perfect to be fried until golden and very crispy. Also, only a few cups of vegetable oil, or your oil of choice, is needed for frying.

However, the syrup may just be the real star of the show. With only three ingredients, water, sugar, and lemon juice, a sweet and sticky syrup is formed and poured over the hot dessert. Crushed pistachios are also traditionally sprinkled over.

While it may seem like this is a dish best left to the professionals, it is entirely possible for you to make at home.

How tulumba tatlısı is made and eaten

While tulumba tatlısı is a street food, homemade versions of the dish are often just as enjoyable. However, it may take some practice to get all the components just right. The sauce is easy to make, as the three ingredients simply get simmered together until it archives the desirable, sticky consistency. However, making the dough can be more challenging.

The first step is to combine the sugar, butter, and water together, eventually stirring in the flour. Soon, a dough will form, and the eggs can be mixed in. After being quickly whisked in one at a time, the semolina and cornstarch are the final additions to the dough.

The dough is then ready to be packed into a pastry bag, where it can be squeezed into the hot oil. When the 2-inch-long dough gets golden it's time to remove the pastry onto paper towels. Serving the dessert with lots of syrup drizzled on top, along with crushed pistachios, is advisable. Pairing it with some traditional Turkish tea can also be great.

If you're in a bustling Turkish city, it should be easy to find some tulumba tatlısı being prepared by local street vendors. They usually prepare this dish fresh and fry it in front of you. However, plenty of pastry shops, bakeries, and restaurants also sell it. Many Turkish families will also often prepare the dish for important family events.