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Middle Eastern Desserts/Sweets

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110 replies to this topic

#61 FoodMan

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 09:38 AM

I always fill mine with the cream you are talking about. Walnuts is another popular filling but the cream is my favorite.

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#62 K8memphis

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 01:00 PM

are the red/green/yellow jellied things with nuts in them called Halva, or is that my fevered toddler imagination?


Halvah, halivah, is sesame seed candy isn't it??? When I was in Toronto's Kensington Market I bought it marbled and plain (vanilla?) as I recall - huge chunks of it that you bought by the pound or gram or whatever.

Man that stuff was good. They probably do make it in colors but I don't believe I've ever seen it. And I didn't see any of what I recall as halvah in the pictures. It was kina like fudge density but the texture was more crumbly in shards like, not creamy like fudge.

Edited by K8memphis, 19 November 2004 - 01:00 PM.


#63 Swisskaese

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 04:15 PM

We went to Jaffo today for a festival and couldn't resist stopping in a pastry shop. We also went to Abulafia's (a famous Jaffo institution for pita, pizza, burekas, etc.), but the picture didn't turn out. :sad:

Posted Image

This is Knaffe. It is shredded pastry filled with cheese and covered in sugar syrup. It is served warm. It is gooey and yummy.

Posted Image

These are various types of baklawa.

Posted Image

And so are these. We shared a piece of walnut baklawa and a pistachio baklawa in the front of the second picture. We washed it down with fresh mango-pomegranate juice. We selected the combination of fruit.

#64 spaghetttti

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 04:23 PM

Shiewie, here we go again! :laugh: (And you said that your trip wasn't culinary! :wink: )

Perhaps, Elie the FoodMan or Michelle could help with these pastries that I got from a lovely shop run by an Iranian gentleman. I asked for kataif, but he said that they only made it for Ramadhan.

Posted Image

I really couldn't catch the names, sorry, although one sounded like asmalia. They are very sweet but oh so fragrant - rose or orange water?

Edited by spaghetttti, 21 November 2004 - 04:38 PM.

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#65 FoodMan

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 09:07 AM

We went to Jaffo today for a festival and couldn't resist stopping in a pastry shop. We also went to Abulafia's (a famous Jaffo institution for pita, pizza, burekas, etc.), but the picture didn't turn out.  :sad:

Posted Image

This is Knaffe. It is shredded pastry filled with cheese and covered in sugar syrup. It is served warm. It is gooey and yummy.

Posted Image

These are various types of baklawa.

Posted Image

And so are these. We shared a piece of walnut baklawa and a pistachio baklawa in the front of the second picture. We washed it down with fresh mango-pomegranate juice. We selected the combination of fruit.

View Post



Thnaks for these mouthwatering pics. This thread is going straight to my waist :smile:, since I want to make a bunch of stuff now!

A note about Kenafi: If you wander to any Lebanese joint and order Kenafe, whether in Beirut or in Tripoli (the sweet capital of the middle east) you will not get cream filled shredded phyllo. Instead of the phyllo shreds the cream is topped with a buttery crumbly semolina "dough". The one in the picture will be called "Basma" in Lebanon, never Kenafi. However, if you look in Roden's book or in Sonia Uvuzian's book they both have the shredded Phylo rendition not the semolina one. Probably because it is easier to make? the only book that has the Kenafi recipe I am talking about is a Lebanese book written in Arabic. The recipe is tricky to make and I am still trying to get it right. Don't get me worng, I love the crispy crunchy Basma, but to me it just is not Kenafi.

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#66 FoodMan

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 10:15 AM

Shiewie, here we go again!  :laugh:  (And you said that your trip wasn't culinary!  :wink:  )

Perhaps, Elie the FoodMan or Michelle could  help with these pastries that I got from a lovely shop run by an Iranian gentleman.  I asked for kataif, but he said that they only made it for Ramadhan. 

Posted Image

I really couldn't catch the names, sorry, although one sounded like asmalia.  They are very sweet but oh so fragrant - rose or orange water?

View Post

Yeap, the one on the left is Asmaliya, phylo layers stuffed with cream and soaked with syrup.
The ones in the center is I believe Basma or some might call it Kenafi, the shredded phylo stuffed with cream. I am not sure about the white one on the far right, but is could be "Halawit El Jibin", a sort of cheese dessert.

Elie

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#67 tryska

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 02:55 PM

are the red/green/yellow jellied things with nuts in them called Halva, or is that my fevered toddler imagination?


Halvah, halivah, is sesame seed candy isn't it??? When I was in Toronto's Kensington Market I bought it marbled and plain (vanilla?) as I recall - huge chunks of it that you bought by the pound or gram or whatever.

Man that stuff was good. They probably do make it in colors but I don't believe I've ever seen it. And I didn't see any of what I recall as halvah in the pictures. It was kina like fudge density but the texture was more crumbly in shards like, not creamy like fudge.

View Post



i found it. turns out it's actually a Pakistani sweet called karachi halva. here's a link to an orange colored kind, but there's also red, green and yellow - sort of riffs on turkish delight it looks like, but with fruits and nuts added to it.

i remember picking it up in Saudi grocery stores, in containers that are reminisent to the kind we get fruit cakes or dried dates in:

http://www.chhappanb...achi-halwa.html

#68 Swisskaese

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 02:22 PM

Hi Yettty,

I recognised everything but the white thing in the right-hand corner and they are called the same thing here. I would agree that the middle one is some type of Knaffe.

Elie,

I have heard of the semolina version of Knaffe, but have never had it. I would be interested in seeing the recipe.

Here is the third picture I took. I am not sure what happened to it in the previous reply.

Posted Image

#69 M. Lucia

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Posted 27 November 2004 - 07:04 AM

Thanks for all the explanations Elie (and others)!
I, too, sometimes confuse the names of the pastries and just point as my mouth waters. There are so many different types, and the names vary from region to region.

Let me just add a few things from my limited experience. First, baklava is a generic term, and can take many forms. This includes the diamond, rose, and finger (my favorite) shapes, and the birds nest (with little filo edges) and crown (taj al malik- circular and filled with whole nuts). You can often choose pistachio, pinenut, walnut, or cashew varieties of baklava.

Borma is often displayed in long spiralled cylinders said to resemble a lady's arm. As pictured below when sliced, the outside is shredded phyllo and the inside are nuts.

Posted Image

The white squares in the middle are ballourie, shredded phyllo dough and pistachio filling.

Namoura, the semolina sweet, is also called basbousa and harisa (another favorite).
Bassma has a knafee dough top mixed with butter and pistachios to make a chewy square somewhat like a nutty namoura.

You often see little golden pound cake squares called sfouf.

The round little cakes filled with date pasta are mamoul.
Mamoul can also come filled with pistachios and it can come in a flat shape, called mamoul madd.

The confectioners sugar and butter cookies are called ghourabiya. The can come in crescent or ring shapes and can be filled with pistachios. I love the way the plain ones melt in your mouth.

Posted Image

In the above picture the middle spiral sweets are called mushabak, or jellabi and they are fried dough soaked in sugar syrup. They are popular in Iran and India and can also come in a round form (looks like a canelle) that I have heard refered to as awameh or marakoun.

Ashta is indeed clotted cream. Ashta is often used to top halawet wa jibna (the white wrapped cheese thing) also. There is another topping sometimes put on top of bassma that is dead ringer for marshmallow fluff.

Kataif make the best breakfast, it was what I would get in Lebanon when I missed American pancakes.
They now make diet baklava and chocolate mamoul!

Hope this helps, and keep sharing the photos!

#70 FoodMan

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Posted 27 November 2004 - 10:14 PM

Ashta is indeed clotted cream. Ashta is often used to top halawet wa jibna (the white wrapped cheese thing) also. There is another topping sometimes put on top of bassma that is dead ringer for marshmallow fluff.


The fluff topping you mention is used to top a variety of pastries and is indeed traditionally made from the mallow root. So really it is good old marshmallow fluff.

They now make diet baklava and chocolate mamoul!

ARGHHHHHH!!! The horror, The horror!! :shock:
Thankfully I do not think I encountered those last time I was there, this past May.


Thanks for sharing M. Lucia.

Elie

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Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#71 Behemoth

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Posted 28 November 2004 - 03:41 PM

[

They now make diet baklava and chocolate mamoul!

ARGHHHHHH!!! The horror, The horror!! :shock:
Thankfully I do not think I encountered those last time I was there, this past May.


Yeesh, what next? Using casio keyboards in arabic music? :wink:

#72 tryska

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Posted 29 November 2004 - 09:32 AM

*sigh*


i miss middle eastern sweet platters.

#73 spaghetttti

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 01:36 PM

Posted Image



This afternoon I was in the mood for a little something savory, so I went to The Mediteranean Cafe & Bakery which is down the street from me. These tiny spinach pastries were absolutely delectable! I like their tangy flavor, they're a little like spanakopita, but the pastry is different. The shop was a little busy so I just pointed. What are these called?
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#74 Swisskaese

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 03:32 PM

Posted Image



This afternoon I was in the mood for a little something savory,  so I went to The Mediteranean Cafe & Bakery which is down the street from me.  These tiny spinach pastries were absolutely delectable!  I like their tangy flavor, they're a little like spanakopita, but the pastry is different.  The shop was a little busy so I just pointed.  What are these called?

View Post


They look like some type of Burekas, but they are usually made with puff pastry. They look delicious.

#75 FoodMan

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 09:51 AM

In Lebanon they are either called "Fatayir bil Sabanikh" (spinach pies) or "Sambusik bil Sabanikh". I make them with walnut pieces in the filling a plenty of pomegranate molasses.

Elie

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#76 KatieLoeb

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 11:05 AM

I own a book called Patisserie of the Eastern Mediterranean by Arto Der Hariutunian. which has great photos in it of most all of the recipes. Might answer many of your questions.

http://www.amazon.co...4/egulletcom-20

I think I've built an eGullet friendly link here. :unsure:

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#77 Ellen Shapiro

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 07:30 AM

*sigh*


i miss middle eastern sweet platters.

View Post



I second that!

My favorite baklava to date is from a place in the old city in Jerusalem right across from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There is a line of these baklava shops—probably three or four—where the big round trays of all different varieties of baklava are laid out. You point to what you want, either for take out or, my preference, to eat on the spot at one of the little sticky tables in the shop. It is the very wet sort of baklava—dripping with honey—which is my favorite.

There are those in the dry baklava camp and my friend who lives in and is from Nazareth has taken me to what she and her family consider to be the best baklava bakery. It is indeed very good baklava, but too dry to rank as my favorite (not, mind you, that I would ever say no to this baklava) because if the baklava on the tray is not sitting in a pool of honey (with rose water), for me it’s too dry.

When I'm craving baklava, I go to Titan Foods (a Greek grocery in Queens) and get a pound or so. It's the very wet sort so a pound gets me only about 8 very small squares--and I might even share it. :wink:
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#78 tryska

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 08:11 AM

lucky you, Ellen - at least you have Queens.


I'm not sure where I can get truly good baklava here in Atlanta, or any other sweet, really. I'll have to do soem research.

#79 FoodMan

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 01:06 PM

*sigh*


i miss middle eastern sweet platters.

View Post



I second that!

My favorite baklava to date is from a place in the old city in Jerusalem right across from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There is a line of these baklava shops—probably three or four—where the big round trays of all different varieties of baklava are laid out. You point to what you want, either for take out or, my preference, to eat on the spot at one of the little sticky tables in the shop. It is the very wet sort of baklava—dripping with honey—which is my favorite.

There are those in the dry baklava camp and my friend who lives in and is from Nazareth has taken me to what she and her family consider to be the best baklava bakery. It is indeed very good baklava, but too dry to rank as my favorite (not, mind you, that I would ever say no to this baklava) because if the baklava on the tray is not sitting in a pool of honey (with rose water), for me it’s too dry.

When I'm craving baklava, I go to Titan Foods (a Greek grocery in Queens) and get a pound or so. It's the very wet sort so a pound gets me only about 8 very small squares--and I might even share it. :wink:

View Post



I sure wish you had a picture of those Jerusalem Baklava shops.

Are you sure it is honey that they use, not syrup flavored with rosewater? Unlike the Greek Baklava, in Lebanon honey is never used to drizzle over baklava. Personally I much prefer the rosewater syrup, since I think honey can be overpowering.

Elie

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#80 zeitoun

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 01:46 PM

I came across an amazing baklava from Syria. A friend who came back from Lebanon brought me a box back. Mrs zeitoun and I ate the whole box in 3 days.
Fortunately, they have a website:

http://www.alfaisalsweets.com/

Even more fortunate, they ship abroad!!!

They specialize in all sorts of Middle eastern pastries, not just baklava. Is anyone familiar with them?
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#81 Ellen Shapiro

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 02:19 PM

I sure wish you had a picture of those Jerusalem Baklava shops.

Are you sure it is honey that they use, not syrup flavored with rosewater? Unlike the Greek Baklava, in Lebanon honey is never used to drizzle over baklava. Personally I much prefer the rosewater syrup, since I think honey can be overpowering.

Elie

View Post


You're absolutely correct. It is rosewater syrup, at least at the places that I love in Jerusalem. I forget sometimes that with this crowd, I have to be precise.

Interestingly, even though Titan Foods is a Greek market, I think they use the rosewater syrup in their baklava. But for the sake of all of you, I am willing to make the sacrifice and get out to Queens so that I can make the most informed assessment possible. I know, I know, it will be difficult, but for egullet and the sake of research, how could I not?
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#82 FoodMan

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 02:54 PM

we sure appreciate all your sacrifices Ellen.

Another and IMO the best middle eastern pastry shop that sells it's stuff online is Abdul Rahman Hallab. I took a tour of their kitchens this past May in Tripoli, Lebanon. Pretty cool stuff.

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#83 Behemoth

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 02:55 PM

Posted Image


Yep, fatayr bi-sbanigh. It is just a normal dough, no puff pastry, nothing fancy, really easy to make. The baked ones are healthier but the deep-fried version are my personal downfall. My mom makes both whenever I come to visit. I daintily eat a couple of the baked ones, and then secretly scarf down a couple dozen of the fried ones when no one is looking :wink:

This is the middle eastern pastry shop I grew up with: Rafaat Hallab & Sons
They are (or at least were) considered the best in Lebanon. Bummer, they only ship the boring stuff. I want the cream-filled goods, dammit!

Hunger....

edit: Oh, they ship the "kashta" (cream) stuff inside lebanon. Look under products->other->kashta to see what I'm talking about. Sigh.

edit2: Goodness, it looks like Marian Burros wrote something nice about them in the NYTimes (See Newsletter.) So hip, my hometown.

Edited by Behemoth, 10 December 2004 - 03:00 PM.


#84 FoodMan

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 03:05 PM

Behemoth-
I love Rafaat Hallab & Sons as well, it is almost identical to Abdul Rahman Hallab. However, my family always went to the latter when passing through Tripoli, so I am partial to it :smile:.
The reason they do not ship the cream filled ones is because they are HIGHLY perishable and cannot stand the 48 hour trip to the states. I got that answer when I asked the person giving us the tour who I think was one of the managers. They really care about their product and would not even fill cream filled items (Atayif, Halawit EL Jibin,...) if you are taking it "to-go". they always pack the filling seperatly so you can do it yourself when ready to eat.

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#85 Pan

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 04:10 PM

Behemoth-
I love Rafaat Hallab & Sons as well, it is almost identical to Abdul Rahman Hallab.

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Looking at the names: Are Rafaat and Abdul Rahman brothers?

#86 FoodMan

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 04:18 PM

Pan I think there is a lot of history to your question, and I am afraid I might not get it all right. but here it goes:

1- the word Al Hallab is sort of like the word carpenter, or locksmith. It describes the profession that they are in not their actual name. the word comes from the Arabic word "Halib" meaning milk. SO I believe it refers to the fact that Dairy and cream play a huge role in their business.

2- Originally Abdul Rahman's full store name was "Abdul Rahman Rafaat El Hallab"!! confused yet? This means that Abdul Rahman is actually Rafaat's son. So you are correct, they are related as a father and son. Basically the son went off on his own and opened this shop back in circa 1888 (yes in the 19th century) or so. the name was recently changed (about 2-4 years ago) to Abdul Rahman with no Rafaat in it and they also dubb themselves "The Sweet Palace". The reason for this , the rumor goes, is due to conflicts between some of the brothers who are now running the business. Hope this clarifies it :smile:.

Regardless, both places offer what is believed to be the best Middle Eastern pastry money can buy.

Elie

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#87 Pan

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 04:21 PM

Yes, you clarified it. :biggrin:

#88 Behemoth

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 04:35 PM

The reason they do not ship the cream filled ones is because they are HIGHLY perishable and cannot stand the 48 hour trip to the states. I got that answer when I asked the person giving us the tour who I think was one of the managers. They really care about their product and would not even fill cream filled items (Atayif, Halawit EL Jibin,...) if you are taking it "to-go". they always pack the filling seperatly so you can do it yourself when ready to eat.


That's fairly obvious, I just like to complain about it :smile:

#89 Behemoth

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 11:17 PM

By the way, now I am not clear whether it was the first or second Hallab my dad bought sweets from. He always went to the "older" place, whichever that was. I'm thinking it might have been Abdul Rahman. I can barely remember where it is now, sad. A new Hallab shop (definitely Rifaat) opened a fancy shop right down the block from our house a few years before we moved. I would buy from them occasionally but it always felt unseemly to go in for less than a kilo, so it was never like, a casual snack. The french pastry-type places did a better business with teenagers for that reason, though most of us probably prefered the arabic stuff. (Though personally, I was always more of a cheese ka'k fan, despite my grandmother's dire warnings about cleanliness...)

But this is material for a Lebanese street food thread. Do ka'k vendors even exist anymore?

#90 Swisskaese

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 05:21 AM

I second that!

My favorite baklava to date is from a place in the old city in Jerusalem right across from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There is a line of these baklava shops—probably three or four—where the big round trays of all different varieties of baklava are laid out. You point to what you want, either for take out or, my preference, to eat on the spot at one of the little sticky tables in the shop. It is the very wet sort of baklava—dripping with honey—which is my favorite.

There are those in the dry baklava camp and my friend who lives in and is from Nazareth has taken me to what she and her family consider to be the best baklava bakery. It is indeed very good baklava, but too dry to rank as my favorite (not, mind you, that I would ever say no to this baklava) because if the baklava on the tray is not sitting in a pool of honey (with rose water), for me it’s too dry.

View Post


The baklava that Ellen is referring to is made with sugar syrup; they just use a lot of it.

I prefer the baklawa in Nazereth. That bakery is reputed to be the best in Israel and I would have to agree. They make with loving care.





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