We mentioned that güllaç replaces baklava during Ramadan as the staple Turkish dessert. The two confections are similar; both are made with phyllo dough (via The Guide Istanbul). Güllaç looks dramatically different – white rather than baklava’s golden brown — because the dough is made with corn starch. While baklava contains pistachios, butter, and a sugar syrup made with lemon juice (via House of Nash Eats), güllaç incorporates nuts, milk, sugar, and rose water. The name “güllaç” translates to “food with rose.”
Hazelnuts or pistachios are usually sprinkled in between the layers of white phyllo in güllaç. Fruit garnishes the Ramadan treat, too – cherries or pomegranate seeds, or whatever happens to be in season. Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar but varies widely on the Gregorian calendar, which is followed in Christian countries. While Ramadan overlaps with April and May this year, in 2013 it fell in July and August (via NPR).
Güllaç is a fitting dish during Ramadan because it substitutes milk for the thick syrup in baklava. This makes for a much lighter dessert, something Muslims might have a little room for after their big iftar feast.