Recipes from Nazareth

GHAIBE (Pistachio or Turkish Delight Filled Arab Cookies)

  1. Melt 600 grams butter-flavored margarine and let solidify. Drain off liquid that accumulates underneath the solid layer.
  2. Put in food processor and process till soft – about 4 minutes.
  3. Add 300 grams powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp Neroli (orange blossom) flavoring.
  4. Continue mixing until it takes on the consistency of thick cream.
  5. In a separate bowl add 1 kg. white flour and a pinch of baking powder.
  6. Reserve a few cups of this flour mixture on the side.
  7. Add butter mixture to flour mixture and mix by hand, adding from the reserved flour mixture to achieve a firm consistency.
  8. Pinch off marble-sized pieces of dough and form little cups. Fill with 1/2 tsp ground pistachio nuts, or a small lump of Turkish delight. Close up the cup over the filling, shape it into a rounded cylinder and gently push the tips in opposite directions.
  9. Let the cookies rest for 30 minutes – then cook in a preheated 350 degree oven – watching carefully so they don’t burn.
Ftayir with Zaatar and Cheese Filling
  1. Sift 1 kg flour (can be half white, half whole wheat) with 1 package (10 gr) baking powder
  2. Add 1 cup sesame seeds, 3 large handfuls of fresh zaatar leaves, washed and removed from the stems, 100 ml (1/2 cup) corn oil, 1 Tbsp salt, 1/2 cup yoghurt and 2 cups warm water. (Note: zaatar leaves are local to Israel and are sort of a cross between sage and oregano. I think you could play around with any fresh leafy spice, depending on what you like.)
  3. Mix into a sticky dough and seal with 1 Tbsp. oil. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, crumble 500 gr salty white cheese (i.e. jibney, feta, zfatit) into a bowl.
  5. After it has rested, pull off tennis-ball sized pieces from the dough. Roll out into a circle, and then cut the circle into 8 triangles. Place a little of the crumbled cheese at the broad end of each triangle, then roll the dough up into a crescent shape. Place on an oiled baking dish.
  6. Bake at 350 till golden brown
Kaake ma Ahjway – Date filled Cookie Rings
  1. In a meat grinder, combine 1 kilo Medjoul dates (pits removed), 2 Tbsp corn oil, 1 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp ground cloves (if you don’t have a meat grinder, you can use packaged ground dates). Set aside.
  2. Mix 1 kg flour, 1 pkg. (10 gr) baking powder, 4 heaping Tbsp. sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsp. ground Makhlab (sifted) and a pinch of salt.
  3. Melt together 400 gr margarine and 200 gr butter and let cool.
  4. Add 1 1/2 cups warm water, or as necessary to attain a soft, tacky dough. Don’t overmix!
  5. Squeeze out 1″ balls of dough and form into little canoes.
  6. From the date mixture, form small, pinky-sized rolls.
  7. Put a date roll on top of the dough canoe – pinch the dough over the date to cover it, then roll it out to make a long piece of dough. Pinch the two edges together to form a ring.
  8. Decorate with a special pincher tool or a fork (not mandatory).
Ftayir Sabanech – Spinach Turnovers
  1. Finely chop 2 large bunches of fresh spinach, including the stems.
  2. In a large bowl, crush the spinach with your hands until it aggregates and releases liquid.
  3. Squeeze out and drain the liquid.
  4. Add one grated onion, salt to taste, 1/2 cup Harissa (red pepper concentrate), a little olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon or lime.
  5. Mix 500 gr. Whole wheat flour, 500 gr. White flour, 1 heaping Tbsp salt, 2 heaping Tbsp dry powdered yeast, 3 Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, about 4 cups warm water.
  6. Mix to get a moist dough, turn onto surface and knead. Add a little oil so the dough won’t be too sticky – then cover and let rise for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Once it has risen, squeeze off ping-pong ball sized balls of dough, moistening hands with oil if necessary. Roll each ball out into a circle. Put a Tablespoon of the spinach filling in the middle, then cover it on three sides to make a triangle and pinch the edges closed. Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake at 350 until brown.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.