Ask Mehmet: What is Pismaniye?

  • Published
  • By Mehmet Birbiri
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Editor's Note: Ask Mehmet is a forum for people to ask questions of the local area, as well as the outer confines of the region and the country as a whole. To submit a question, send an e-mail with the subject "Ask Mehmet" to

Question: Mehmet, a Turkish co-worker was on leave for a short time. When he came back he brought a box of candy. While eating a small piece, it crumbled and made a bit of a mess. It looked to me like compressed cotton candy, what exactly is it?

Answer: You are not wrong by defining it as 'cotton candy'. It is in fact the Turkish version of cotton candy called 'Pişmaniye'. Although the texture is similar to cotton candy, the ingredients are different.

Pişmaniye is a Turkish dessert made in fine strands by blending flour roasted in butter with sugar. The three basic ingredients of pişmaniye are sugar, butter and flour. Sometimes the treat can be found garnished with ground pistachio nuts. You can also find pişmaniye coated with chocolate, topped with pistachios or walnuts and flavored with vanilla or chocolate.

Although it is manufactured in many cities and can be called different names, the main producer of pişmaniye is Izmit in northwestern Turkey near Istanbul.

While eating pişmaniye you should pay extra attention. Pişmaniye is mostly served in small cube-shape pieces with the ingredients compressed together, so if you squeeze it you might have a big mess on your desk and clothes.

Hold the cube between your thumb and index finger very gently, and place the whole cube in your mouth. If you squeeze it or try to take a bite out of the cube, the cube will break and very thin strands will cause a mess. The strands will stick onto your fingers, but easily washes off.

Unlike most Turkish desserts that may be found in any common pastry shop, pişmaniye is not as easy to find. However, you can find it in most gift shops while traveling in Turkey.
Since it can be stored for a long time and no refrigeration is required, buying pişmaniye as a gift for your family and friends is a very common tradition throughout Turkey.

Although pişmaniye is a treat similar to cotton candy, it is unique to Turkey and I suggest giving it a try while stationed here!