Queen of Almond Pastry

Another Mehregan is upon us and we are getting ready to celebrate this ancient Iranian Fall festival. A festival of love, friendship and thanksgiving, one of the oldest Iranian celebrations and gatherings. 

As most of you know, this is the second year that myself and other talented Iranian food bloggers are celebrating Mehregan through sharing recipes and stories. A ritual that dear Sanam from My Persian Kitchen started three years ago to celebrate Norouz. Sanam was the source of many wonderful friendships that was built during the course of the three years. Since then, few of us have met, shared a meal, shared a laugh, and have created delicious memories.  

All from just one email that Sanam has sent out, an email that had invited us to team up, to celebrate, to bake, to cook, and to share our passion for our culture and food with you.  

And today as I celebrate Mehregan, I also celebrate these amazing friendships and the friendships that I have built with you. I invite you to read their stories and recipes (the links are just below my post), and to take a moment to leave a comment for me/us, and tell us what do you think about our effort...like? dislike? 

The recipe that I've decided to share with you today is a traditional Persian pastry that is sweetened with honey, perfumed with cardamom, and colored with saffron. A pastry so delicate and so delicious that is worthy of a Queen on a gorgeous fall day ;)

The pastry is made from a simple dough and scented with orange zest to bring out flavors of autumn. The crust relies on the topping and the sweetness of honey to bring a warmth to the flavor. Toasted slivered almonds mixed with honey and scented with saffron is sprinkled over the top, and provide a soft texture. 

Traditionally this pastry is made in a rectangular baking tray and then is cut in small diamond shape or rectangular pieces, but I went for a different look and used my new 9" tart dish. You too can get creative and use a dish that you like as long as it is oven safe. 

 

Queen of Almond Pastry

Serving: 8 | Time: 30 minutes

For the dough:

  • 190g  Flour
  • 100g Powdered sugar; sifted 
  • 90g Butter; softened 
  • 1 Large Egg 
  • Zest of a large orange / or you can use 1 tsp cardamom or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 

Process:

  1. Brush some soft butter to grease your dish, you can use a spray too, but remember butter tastes much better and doesn't have the after-taste that most sprays have. 
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer and on a medium speed, mix together the butter and powdered sugar until soft and creamy. Add the egg and continue beating, once the egg is completely mix in the batter, add the orange zest. Lower the speed and slowly add the flour, don't over mix. You should have a sticky dough. Use a spatula to place the dough in the center of your dish.  Then, grease a back of a spoon with butter and use that to spread the batter evenly. 
  3. Traditionally, the dough is spread thin but I spread it to a 1/2" thickness. 
  4. Now, use a fork to prick holes in a circular motion in the dough, this allows the steam to escape while it's baking. Without this, the steam would puff up in bubbles and pockets throughout the crust, which would make some parts of the crust cook too quickly. 
  5. Placed in the oven and bake at 350°F for 8-10 minute, remove and let cool to touch. 

Topping

Ingredients:

  • 100g Honey
  • 50g Sugar
  • 30g Butter 
  • 1 tbsp Whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp Light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp Saffron
  • 100g Slivered Almonds, roasted

Process:

First, toast the slivered almonds until they're golden brown around the edges and set aside. In a medium saucepan and on low temperature, mix together the remaining ingredients and heat up the batter; the batter shouldn't come to a boil.  Add the slivered almonds and mix, then pour over the baked crust and spread evenly. 

Place in the oven again and bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes or until the top and edges are golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  This pastry is absolutely heavenly with a fresh cup of brewed Persian tea.  

Happy Mehregan and Happy Baking