Tulumba tatlısı (too-LOOM-bah TAHT-luh-suh) is a crispy, syrupy, and ultra-sweet Turkish dessert. It is a popular street food prepared by vendors who fry it up fresh on the spot and serve it warm. You’ll also find it served in many restaurants and home cooks like to make it because kids love it.
Tulumba is made of bits of fried dough, similar to doughnuts, steeped in lots of lemony syrup. The dough contains starch and semolina, which keeps it light and crispy.
To make this classic Turkish sweet at home, you’ll need a pastry bag with a star tip and a deep skillet for frying. It might be difficult to get the shapes perfect at first but after a few tries, you will get the hang of it.
- For the Syrup:
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (juice of 1/2 lemon)
- For the Batter:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose, sifted)
- 3 large eggs (room temperature)
- 3 tablespoons semolina
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2–3 cups vegetable oil (or amount needed for frying)
- Garnish: ground nuts
Make the Syrup
- In a saucepan, stir 3 cups sugar and 3 1/2 cups water together. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Reduce the heat and let the syrup simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice and simmer for 1 minute longer. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
Make the Batter
- In a saucepan, add butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 cups water. Turn on the heat and stir continuously until the butter is melted.
- Stir in the flour using a wooden spoon until a loose dough forms.
- When the dough begins to collect around the spoon, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.
- Break one egg at a time into the dough and stir them in with the wooden spoon.
- Add the semolina and cornstarch, combining well with the wooden spoon.
- Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.
Fry the Tulumba
- Pour about 3 inches of vegetable oil into a deep frying pan and heat to 350 F, checking it with a thermometer.
- Once the oil is hot, squeeze out small lines of dough directly into the hot oil. Use a strainer or spoon to turn the pieces over and around so they brown evenly.
- When the tulumba are evenly browned, remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels.
- Add them to the cool syrup and let them soak it up.
- Arrange the syrupy sweets on a serving plate and pour some extra syrup over the top. You can garnish the tulumba with ground nuts if you wish.