Sweet pastries

Sweet pastries

By
Greg Malouf, Lucy Malouf
Contains
4 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742708423
Photographer
Alan Benson

Is it possible to think of the Middle East and not imagine sticky lozenges of crisp golden baklava? These flaky pastries, stuffed with nuts, drenched in honey or syrup and perfumed with flower water are, perhaps, the food that is most clearly identified with this vast region. They pop up everywhere, from the Arabian Peninsula, through Iran and the Levant, to the Eastern Mediterranean shores of Turkey and Greece, and right across to the far reaches of North Africa.

There are countless regional variations of these honeyed delights but, despite their ubiquity, sweet pastries are considered something of a luxury item, saved for celebrations or religious holidays. But they are also synonymous with the legendary Middle Eastern hospitality, and will be offered to guests with tiny cups of cardamomscented coffee – and you need this bitter partnering to offset the intense sweetness!

Although translucent filo predominates as the pastry of choice, shredded kataifi(a variation on the filo theme) is also popular, as are short- and puff-pastries, pastries made from semolina, and yeast batters for crisp little fritters. The fillings range from ground, cinnamon-spiked nuts (almond, walnut or pistachio) to thick, lactic cream and soft cheese or puréed fruits – dates and apricots are particularly popular.

We’ve included a few new recipes here, inspired by some traditional favourites from around the region, which can be eaten both Middle Eastern-style as a treat with coffee, or as a more familiar end to a meal.

Recipes in this Chapter

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