Sunday, March 02, 2008

weekend pastries

these rich sweet pastries, served alongside strong turkish coffee or espresso, were always something i remember eating on weekends only. i guess they weren't considered everyday fare by us but rather a food to be enjoyed on those days when one did not have to work, when one took his/her time to appreciate things.

redolent of the flavours of the eastern mediterranean, tahinli are made with a butter and egg pastry dough and envelop a sweet filling made from sugar, t'hina paste and orange flower water. they are eaten especially in turkey, armenia and israel. like many {adopted} sefardi pastries and breads, this one is also in the shape of a rosca — or twisted (screw). it doesn't have to be twisted, however it does look much nicer if it is.

tahinli are fairly straightforward to make but if you're one of those pastry-challenged types, you may just want to look at the pictures and get someone else to make them for you! lol. if you do make them, try not to omit things like the mahlep and orange flower water from the recipe. it becomes less authentic and flavorful when you do.

this post has quite a few pictures because there are quite a few steps to it. some of the pictures are blurred and less than quality. you'll get the idea nonetheless....

sesame paste filled pastries

yields 6 five inch pastries or 4 large ones

{Not really a beginner's recipe but give it a try!}


1 heaping teaspoon dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 c. warm water

1/4 tsp salt
2 - 2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 - 1 tsp mahlep
2 tbsp unsalted butter or non-dairy margarine
1/4 c. milk (or soy milk or water)
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp oil or shortening (melted and measured)
1/8 tsp salt

2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
1/2 c + 2 tbsp tahina (sesame paste)
1/2 c sugar
2 tbsp oil or melted butter
2 tsp orange flower water

2 tsp finely chopped shelled pistachios per pastry (optional)
4 tbsp orange flower water for coating pastry

1 egg (for eggwash)
raw sesame seeds sugar (granulated or demarera)


proof yeast with warm water and sugar.

set aside approximately 10 minutes.

in a pyrex 2 cup measuring cup (or small pan) heat the milk and melt the butter in it.

transfer this to a mixing bowl and add the oil or shortening, salt and sugar and mix well.

while still warm (not hot!) add the egg and yeast mixture and mix well with a whisk.

in another bowl, mix the salt, flour and mahlep.

add this to the egg mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until you get a dough.

the dough will be slightly sticky and depending upon humidity and measurement, you may need a bit more flour. start with the 2 cups and add more gradually while kneading.

remove the dough and knead the dough using/adding the extra 1/2 if needed. it will get less sticky as you knead more and after proofing.

once you have a nice dough, place it back in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap.

put the dough in a warm area (inside a microwave works well) and let proof for approximately 2 hours (until doubled).

punch down the dough and place it on counter and knead it for a minute.

divide the dough in 4 to 6 pieces. Let the balls rest about 25 to 30 minutes.

after 15 minutes, place the tahina, sugar, oil, and orange flower water in a small bowl and mix well to incorporate. the mixture will be granular.

when the balls have proofed, start to shape the dough.

roll each ball one at a time into a disk between an 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Try to make them all the same size.

if making 4, it should measure about 11 or 12 inches — less if you are making 6 pastries.

then divide the tahina mixture evenly for each pastry, approximately 3 tablespoons each. spread this out VERY thinly almost to the edges.

if you like, sprinkle 2 - 3 tsp of finely chopped pistachios on each one.

roll each round fairly tightly all the way to the end.

pinch each end closed.

slowly and gently roll each pastry back and forth with your hands to extend it starting at the middle.

don't worry if small tears occurs. the final dough will be almost as long as from the tip of your fingers to your elbow.

(perhaps with a helper) twist the long strand of dough gently over and over again. don't overtwist or you will snap it.

once that is done, have 2 baking sheets ready either lightly greased or lined with parchment.

coil the pastry loosely from the center working outwards and tuck the very end underneath.

place equal amounts of finished pastry on each sheet. you need the space for the final rolling.

preheat your oven to 350 F.

let your pastries proof an extra half hour but you do not need to cover them tightly. just place a teatowel over them.

at this point, after proving, they may look strange with the centers popped up. that will be fixed with the rolling. don't worry about that if it happens (it probably will).

you may also notice small amounts of oil weeping from the pastry. this is normal too.

after about 15 minutes of waiting, beat the egg in a small dish and have a pastry brush ready.

measure out the 1/4 c. of orange flower water. have the sesame seeds ready in another bowl and some sugar in another.

now flatten each pastry with a rolling pin gently to half it's size (deflate it).

prick it all over with a fork to arrest its rising in the oven.

using a pastry brush wash the pastries with orange flower water all over. then use the egg wash.

sprinkle each pastry generously with sesame seeds and finally with sugar (it will make a nice crust when baked).

bake pastries for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

you may freeze the pastries (if you have any left!).

these taste great warm(ed).



sara said...

me arrodillo ante el maestro! poco más que decir, sólo queda admirar tanto trabajo y tan bien hecho. you are the best! :0 ( conoces la expresión "me dejas con la boca abierta"? )

shelly said...

יו, נראה לי טעים לאללה! האמת שלא טעמתי עוגיה/לחמניה כזאת כשגרתי בארץ. כנראה לא הוזמנתי מספיק לשבת בצהריים :). כשאסיים לסדר את הדירה החדשה, אני חייבת לאפות את הלחמניות החמודות האלה!
(אגב, סוף סוף גיליתי איך להדפיס בעברית ב-מאק :).(

burekaboy — said...

sari - que elogios grandes ! ;)) you haven't seen all the mistakes and disasters! LOL. muchas gracias por todos tus comentarios tan agradables y simpaticos. eso me da ganas de continuar con el trabajo!

shelly - אהלן -- צחקתי על תגובתך .... לא יודע האם יש הרבה אנשים בארץ שמכירים את הלחמניות האלה, זאת אומרת לא כמו שמכירים משהו כמו בורקס וכו' הן באמת טעימות ומזרחיות. שהכל יסתדר אצלך עם הדירה החדשה ומזל טוב (וחמסא חמסא חמסא) במקום החדש

prettybaker said...

אחי - שיחקת אותה!!
נראה מצויין ובהחלט על הכוונת לסופ"ש!
מתה על המגבת מטבח שלך!
שיהיה שבוע שקט ונפלא

Emily DeVoto, Ph.D., said...

Whew! Finally got to read this, and the one before... for some reason loading the blog was crashing Firefox on me :-/ , but now it's resolved. (It's not you, The Amateur Gourmet was doing it, too.) But I agree with Sari and Shelly! You're great and these babies are, too, in particular. Too bad I'm on a major post-winter diet :-( .

burekaboy — said...

פריטי - תודה רבה רבה :) את באמת צריכה לנסות לאפות אותן -- הן משהו משהו את הלחמניות האלה.

כנראה, אני אוהב לאפות ולבשל! לא....אוהב לאכול יותר למעשה!! מזלי שאני רזה! מבגת המטבח - יש לי אחת בשרית ואחת חלבית - היו מתנות מחבר שלי. שבוע נעים לך גם כן ותודה על התגובה

em - yo...sup!? weird about ffox crashing. glad it wasn't my site doing it!! thanks for the kudos. diet? what diet?? one day is enough with that narishkeit. get baking!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

So pretty! They would be perfect with my cup of coffee! Scrumptious!



burekaboy — said...

rosa - thanks :) hope you give them a try one of these days. i'm sure you'd like them.

chanit said...

חיפשתי טורשי לפת ברשת, משהו טעים שאכלתי כאן ואני רוצה מאוד להכין.הגעתי למתכון שלך לטורשי ושמרתי לי. אחפש לפת וסלק. ואז הגעתי למתכון הזה, אני מכירה את הטעם המיוחד, זה מצויין !!, הכנתי לפני כשנתיים או יותר מבלוג אוכל טורקי
יום טוב