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Middle Eastern Desserts/Sweets


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Have some pics of some pastries from a little pastry shop in the oasis town of Wadi Musa (next to Petra) during a recent trip to Jordan and Egypt.

Apart from baklava (the first picture), I'm not sure what the rest are called. We just pointed excitedly at what we wanted. Can somebody please help me identify them?

Some of my favourites were these filo pastry casings with a cream cheese filling (sweet ones and savoury ones) and also crescent-shaped shortbread like ones, either plain or with a date filling. Yumm! Would anyone possibly have recipes for these (:biggrin: hopeful)?

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Absolutely gorgeous mouthwatering photos, Shiewie! They're making me hungry!!! :raz: Though I've had some of them, not too familiar with their names, I'm sure someone here will be able to identify and provide recipes for the pastries!

Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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They're all called different things in different Middle Eastern countries. The ones with the shredded wheat birds-nesty type things are usually called Kataifi. Everything else is usually some variant of baklava using a honey syrup sauce with different kinds of nuts as a filling or topping. Theres probably a least a dozen different variants. In turkey they are called Baklava generically, theres one particular pistachio round one they call "Bulbul Yuvasi" that looks kind of similar to one of the pistachio ones above.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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

(not that there's any pictures of those anywhere here, but i've been trying to locate those particular sweets here, and i was introduced to them in Saudi Arabia)

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I would agree with Jason, the names I might give them might vary wildly from the ones used in Egypt, Israel or Turkey. The generic name for pretty much all of them in Lebanon is Baklawa.

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Thi si what is classically called Baklawa (Baklava)

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That very first one with cream I think is called "Ithmaliya with Ashta(cream)". I cannot really tell what the ones in the background are.

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The closest one is "Barma bil Fustuk Halabi" (Barama with Pistachios). This could also be fille dwith pine nuts and will then be called..you guessed it Barama with Pinenuts.

The one right behind it is made with shredded phyllo soaked in rosewater and orange blossom water and filled with pistachios. This is called "Bullawriya", roughly translated as "crystal" due to it's color. I am not too crazy about this one and it is a little too sweet and chewy for my taste.

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I am not too sure but I think the top tray all the way in the front is called "Mamduda bil Fustuk Halabi" Semolina, sugar dough filled with pistachios and topped with another layer of dough.

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I do not know what the very first tray is, but the second one goes byt either "Namourra" or "Herissa"

I'll update the names if I learn anything else.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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That last one could be the gummy thing with pistachios. I have no idea what its called.

Oh, its not cream cheese BTW, I think the filling is more like clotted cream. I really miss two things I can't seem to get anywhere: "Znoud el sit", a sort of clotted cream-filled pastry cigar, and "ktaif" (I think?) which are little pancakes usually eaten with the cream and sugar syrup. Are those just a Tripoli thing? Man are those good.

I have some candied orange blossoms my folks sent to me. Also some ktaifi dough. What should I make....

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That last one could be the gummy thing with pistachios. I have no idea what its called.

Oh, its not cream cheese BTW, I think the filling is more like clotted cream. I really miss two things I can't seem to get anywhere: "Znoud el sit", a sort of clotted cream-filled pastry cigar, and "ktaif" (I think?) which are little pancakes usually eaten with the cream and sugar syrup. Are those just a Tripoli thing? Man are those good.

I have some candied orange blossoms my folks sent to me. Also some ktaifi dough. What should I make....

Those gummy pistachio things are called "Herissa Bil Fustuk" or Pistachio Herissa.

Kataiif or Ataiif as well as Znood El Sit are wonderful things. Here are some pics I took of Kataiif I made a while back. The holes in the "pancakes" were a little too big which means I need to make the batter a little firmer next time. Boy am I craving those now.

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Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Hi Elie,

I had some homemade Kataiif a few weeks ago. They were wonderful. Just sweet enough. The clotted cream filling was not very sweet, which I prefer because the sugar syrup makes up for the unsweetened cream. What do you fill yours with?

It was a party I went to before Ramadan and Hisham, the chef, also makes the most amazing cheese rolls with whole zatar leaves that he picks on the hills near his home.

He also makes amazing Maklooba, but that is another thread all together.

Take care,

Michelle

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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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 (log)
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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:

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

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These are various types of baklawa.

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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.

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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.

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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 (log)

Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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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:

gallery_8006_298_1100987182.jpg

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

gallery_8006_298_1100981277.jpg

These are various types of baklawa.

gallery_8006_298_1100983551.jpg

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.

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.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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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. 

gallery_11814_353_1101079063.jpg

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?

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

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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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.

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.chhappanbhog.com/karachi-halwa.html

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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[
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:

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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?

Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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gallery_11814_353_1102191977.jpg

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?

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

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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

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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