I saw pictures of this dessert when I was looking up Turkish cheeses (for another article) and I just had to make it. Fortunately, it turned out to have cheese in it, so I was able to justify my interest! Tim and Caroline Armstrong of Eugene, Oregon helped me with some of the translation and they contributed much of the recipe (the picture below was taken when they were living in Turkey in the late 1980’s). And, my friend, Maggie Parkinson, a cookbook author, helped get the lumps out of my milk in the cream section.
I found that there are very few (as in 2) vague recipes for the first stage of this dessert (the “cookies”) in English online. And, even worse, there is only one video showing how to make the cheese that’s in these cookies – Lor. There are websites which refer to how it is made, but there are a lot of differences. Some say it is made like ricotta from boiled whey. Others say it is made like virtually any soft cheese you can think of. I’m just hoping any of you who know about this Turkish confection will help me out in the comments section.
I made these cookies with the only recipe for Lor online and I made them with store bought ricotta. I could not tell the difference between them. I suspect you could use farmer’s cheese or neufchatel or dry cottage cheese, almost any soft cheese or any type of curds because the predominant flavor is the semolina flour and the butter. You can definitely use goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, raw milk, 1%, 2%, or even skimmed.
Kemal Pasha dessert is peculiar to a town of Bursa called Mustafakemalpasha. As you can understand from this name, the dessert takes its name originally from the name of this town. And the town takes its name from our leader and the founder of Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. As he was a great general, he is called Mustafa Kemal Pasha. The people of this town gave its name as Mustafakemalpasa in 1922. For more information about this town, you can visit here.
This dessert is a kind of cheese dessert and as this cheese is originally produced in that town, kemalpasha dessert first came out there. It has been produced in the town since 1960 and it is a great source of income for the people of the town. There are more than 10 companies in the town producing and selling this dessert. This dessert has two steps; cooking in oven and boiling in sherbet (syrup). These companies cook the cookies of the dessert in oven two times, package them and then send them to markets. These packaged ones are ready to be boiled in sherbet (syrup) and you can find several brands of kemalpasa in markets. This dessert has such a significant role in the life of the town that there is even a kemalpasha dessert festival on September 14.
Ways to Serve:
There are literally hundreds of different ways to serve this delicious dessert. Here are just a few I found in Google Images:
I combined the 2 recipes I found online and changed them slightly after I had made them a few times. I made the cookies somewhat large, so I only got 9 of them. This recipe can be doubled.
2 cups water
1 1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
3/4 cups flour (semolina is best, if available)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tbsp butter
3 oz (approximately 1/3 cup) unsalted cheese or sweet curd
Cream: Makes a little more than 4 cups
5 cups whole milk
1/4 cup corn starch
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease a cookie sheet.
Combine dough ingredients.
Take pieces of the dough and make into little balls.
Bake in a 350F oven for 20-30 minutes (or until the cookies have turned slightly brown).
While you are waiting, add sugar to water and bring to a boil. The syrup doesn’t get thick.
Turn off the heat and leave it on the burner until the cookies come out of the oven.
Bring the sugar water back to a boil and put the cookies in it.
Stir them a little and flip them occasionally for about 15 minutes.
Take them out of the syrup and dry them on a rack. They will remain a little sticky.
Make the cream:
Mix the cornstarch, flour and sugar together in a bowl.
Prepare your pot by rinsing it out with cold water and not drying it off.
Pour the dry ingredients into the pot and add about a cup of milk to make a paste.
Stir it until it’s very smooth.
Add more milk and stir some more, making sure that the mixture is smooth. (If you don’t get it completely smooth, you can put it in a blender or food processor when it’s done cooking and it has cooled down a little.)
Finally, add all the milk and melted butter and then slowly slowly bring up the heat, stirring all the time.
Take it off the heat when it begins to boil.
Add the vanilla and stir it in.
Transfer to a bowl and let it cool down. As it cools, it thickens up.
Meanwhile, cut up your pistachios.
When the cream is thick (like yogurt), pour the cream over your cookies to serve. Or, if you want to make a “cake” like the one in the first picture, spray your pie plate or tart shell with oil and arrange your cookies in it.
Pour the cream over them. (The goal is for the cream to be so thick that it doesn’t completely cover the cookies on the bottom.)
Refrigerate until it thickens up enough to take it out of the pan. If it isn’t thick enough in a few hours, put it in the freezer for 30 minutes or until it’s set enough to take it out of the mold.
Turn the pan upside down on a plate and wait for it to fall from the pan onto the plate.
Top with pistachios and put the dessert in the refrigerator until it is time to serve. (If it looks like it isn’t going to hold it’s set in the refrigerator, put it in the freezer until you are ready to serve it.)
Homemade Lor Cheese – Turkish Cottage Cheese
From Elvanca Tarifler’s YouTube video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9TAMvGiEqU
(Makes enough for one batch of cookies, even if you are using low-fat milk.)
In this episode, I’d like to show you how easy is to make LOR cheese at home. Pasteurized milk is fine to use for making Lor. And it can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. The cheese can be prepared with yogurt as well, but then it is called: COKELEK cheese.
4 cups whole milk (1 quart)
1 tsp salt (omit this if making cookies)
1 lemon (or 1/4 cup vinegar)
To prevent milk from burning, rinse inside a heavy bottomed pan with cold water.
Then pour in milk without drying the pan.
Stir with a wooden spoon, place the spoon over the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Meanwhile, squeeze juice of one lemon.
Set a strainer over a large bowl and line the strainer with (wet) cheese cloth, set aside.
When the milk starts to boil, remove the pot from heat. If not using the LOR cheese for making dessert, add 1 tsp salt.
Then add 1/4 cup lemon juice (or vinegar) and stir.
Let it sit for 10 minutes, undisturbed.
In 10 minutes, the milk should have separated into white curds and yellow-colored whey.
Carefully pour it through the prepared strainer.
And let it drain for 10 to 60 minutes depending on how wet or dry you like it.
Then, transfer to a bowl.
Cover with a lid when it comes to room temperature and refrigerate.
And the leftover whey can be used in place of water in any baking recipe, drunk on its own or used as stock in soups.