Cold Gullac in the Midst of Hot Summer

As the summer gets hotter each and every day, we try to adjust to the temperatures: eat lighter, drink cooler, shed some layers, invest in good quality sun glasses and search for refrigerated dessert recipes.

As I was strolling through the aisles of Halal Market the other day, loading up on my regular Turkish items like cheese, olives, olive oil, grains while the butcher was preparing my lamb order, I noticed gullac sheets on the shelf. Boxes and boxes of it stacked on top of each other. That reminded me two things: Rose water and Ramadan nights.

Gullac sheets are dry, white , paper thin dough sheets made of wheat flour and corn starch. I have not seen anyone making these sheets at home in Turkey, we always buy it from the stores, especially from the old-time bakeries. The sheets are used in a simple dessert, carrying the same name and the dessert  is very popular one during Ramadan. I can not say that I loved the dessert when I was growing up since I really did not care for the rose water smell that much and ate it on seldom occasions – mostly when I could not refuse it due to being a guest at someone else’s house.

The boxes were just staring me in the eye on those shelves, so I gave in and bought one. I decided to skip rose water so that I could eat this time. I compared the recipes in my mom’s notebook and the recipe on the box. The recipes included way too much sugar for me so after a phone consultation with my mom and grandma, settled on some approximate amounts. My mom’s approach was to add sugar gradually to the milk while milk is heating so that I could taste as I go and stop when it reached the perfect taste for me. And since I was not making a syrup, I could make up more milk-sugar mixture and add if I did not have enough.

The recipe is really simple: Heat milk and sugar in a pot and when it is hot enough to burn your finger but not boiling, turn off the stove, add rosewater and  start layering milk and sheets. You can add ground or finely chopped pistachios or walnuts in between the sheets if you would like. I actually added somewhat more sugar than my stopping point, thinking the bland taste of sheets will offset the taste a bit. I think it worked. 400 grs of sheets absorbed all the milk, so if you want more soggy dessert, you can increase the milk and sugar amounts according to your taste.Then cool it in the fridge for several hours before you serve.

You can make the dessert in a one big tray, if you have one that is wide enough to fit the sheets in or you can break the sheets to fit in the pan you have. Can even make individual ones. Traditional topping is pomegranate seeds but we are pistachio lovers in this house.

Now it is a tad bit easier to handle the South Carolina heat!


(amounts are approximate and personal preference)

  • 400 grs of Gullac sheets (12-14 sheets)
  • 1.5 lt (6 cups) of whole milk
  • 2.5 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A handful of coarsely chopped pistachios (you can substitute your preferred nuts)

1. Heat milk and sugar on medium heat until milk is very hot but not boling.

2. Turn off the stove, add vanilla,stir to mix.

3. Place one sheet in your tray, pour one ladle of hot milk all over the sheet. The sheet will get soft and wrinkly. You can shape it any way you want.

4. Add another sheet and repeat with ladling the milk over the sheet,making sure all parts come in contact with hot milk.

5. Once you are done, pour any remaining milk over the sheets, making sure all of the sheets are soaked. Cool to the room temperature, cover and put it in the fridge. Serve cold, decorated with pistachios.




  1. by Terra
    11:28 pm
    Jul 15, 2012

    Oh lovely, I have never heard of Gullac, but it sounds delicious! They remind me of phyllo dough, but better:-) Looks delicious, Hugs, Terra

  2. by Calantha
    12:43 pm
    Jul 16, 2012

    If that isn’t one of the most beautiful desserts I’ve ever seen!

  3. by Renee
    9:19 am
    Jul 17, 2012

    Very cool. I’ve never heard of Gullac before but it sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  4. by Angie@Angie's Recipes
    10:55 am
    Jul 17, 2012

    This is new to me. Those paper thin dough layers are amazing! I wish I could taste one.

  5. by Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    2:56 pm
    Jul 17, 2012

    How interesting. I’ve never heard of this but would eat it right now! Thanks for the cool moment :)

  6. by kitchenriffs
    3:58 pm
    Jul 18, 2012

    That’s beautiful! I’ve not heard of this dessert, but I’m going to have to consider making it. And I agree the aroma of rose water is a little off putting. Odd that something with such a lovely name would have a fragrance that really doesn’t match its name. Good post – thanks.

  7. by thyme (Sarah)
    3:21 pm
    Jul 19, 2012

    More interesting plates coming from Istanbul! I have never seen anything like this. The closest my imagination can come is baklava but more milky than sticky sweet. I love how it cuts into bite size pieces and is cold. Do you follow the food blog “Istanbul Eats”? He has a list of recommended restaurants up right now for Ramadan night time dining. So interesting…

  8. by Susan
    2:45 pm
    Jul 21, 2012

    I learned something new today! I had never heard of Gullac nor this dessert. The wrinkly texture is very pretty and I am very much in favor of cold desserts in this weather! The pistachios must add just the right amount of flavor and crunch.

  9. by Parsley Sage
    5:13 pm
    Jul 21, 2012

    Never seen it before :) Looks super tasty though. Especially with the pistachios…we’ve got p-lovers in our house too!

    And you’re in the dog house Little Missy…WASTING A MANGO!!??

  10. by Ilke
    9:22 pm
    Jul 21, 2012

    Yes sorry :(((

  11. by Tanvi@SinfullySpicy
    6:05 pm
    Jul 21, 2012

    Just wondering if Gullac sheets are different than phyllo sheets? I have never heard or seen this dessert but sounds so simple & perfect for summer. How about rosewater in place of vanilla? Sorry but I m getting so many ideas after seeing this..plain EXCITED to try :)

  12. by Ilke
    9:23 pm
    Jul 21, 2012

    Tanvi, they are different. You have to find the box that says Gullac on it. If you go to a Middle Eastern market, especially now (since it is Ramadan) you should be able to find them. Rosewater is the original recipe, I just dont like the smell of it. Orange peel/zest would be great as well :)

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