Tag Archives: Holiday sweets

Awwamat Or Crisp Doughnut Balls

6 Jan

Today is the Epiphany. For the Eastern Christians, it is the holiday where we celebrate the baptisim of Jesus in the Jordan river. Our tradition involves, on the Epiphany Eve,  in addition to the preparation of different desserts, to knead a small piece of dough, place one or two coins in the middle, fold the edges onto the coin and leave it either in the closet, or outside the balcony, so that when Jesus “passes by” on that night, he blesses the dough to more prosperous time.

I await this time of year impatiently, why, because I love the desserts we make. At home, we prepare zalebieh, maacroun, and awwamat, in arabic it means floaters, because they float when fried and when soaked in the sugar syrup. It’s a fried small doughs, ball- shaped, made with few ingredients, flour, water, yeast and mahlab; then dipped in Qater while still hot so they absorb the syrup well. I love their sweet softness. So delicious, that the whole batch was over in just one day.

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Bûche De Noël With Almond Cream Filling

25 Dec

Merry Christmas. Joyeux Noël. Buon Natale.

I love this holiday, I love what glorious feelings Christmas can give us. There are feeling of hoping, of loving others, of sharing with others, of helping, of thinking of others. I love the family gathering on Christmas Eve, the joy that brings to our hearts, the fact that all the family members are close to each others. There’s no such feeling than the feeling of being with the family on holy and merry occasions.

Usually we don’t buy from stores a bûche de Noël. So I stayed home this past thursday baking, all day long and night, I was up till 1h30 am, icing the spiced cookies and decorating them the buttons sweets, which I loved alot, baking and filling ( and at the same time, doing the dishes of all these baked stuff too) two cakes, one mocha chocolate roulade  and an almond filling roulade. We prefer to make desserts at home, a thing we’re pretty sure of is that we know what are the ingredients, what kinds we are using, what we are putting inside the cakes and the most important is that our cakes are not too buttery, as the store-bought cakes. This bûche de Noël is so delicious, as everyone said. I love it because it’s light, fluffy and has a nutty flavor. The toasted almonds give a great beautiful taste to the cream. I’m so delighted having baked all these good sweets, cookies, spiced cookies, chocolate clusters, mocha chocolate bûche de Noël and this Bûche de Noël with almond cream filling. Loved all the baking I did, worth the fatigue.

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Maacroun

6 Dec

Maacroun is a dessert that’s also prepared on Eid el Berbara and it is one of the most delicious sweets. I prepared the dough myself, my first time, and the result was a huge success. Everyone liked it.

Maacroun is either baked or fried then soaked in sugar syrup, Qater. I prefered to go with the frying thing, since it’s more delicious. And because it’s been a long time since I ate fried maacroun.

The preparation of the dough is so easy. It has to sit for a while covered with a blanket or so. I couldn’t wait more than 10 minutes. The result was a delicious sweet crunchy pastry. The important thing about Maacroun is that, they are best eaten after hours or the next day because the dough will absorb all the sugar syrup and it will be softer, sweeter, the flavors more stable.

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Qatayef

6 Dec

Qatayef is an Arabic dessert made from a simple dough batter. It is prepared on holidays. And specially on Eid el Berbara. And it is similar and cooked like pancakes. Filled with either cream, Ashta, and served with sugar syrup (Qater), or a mixture of walnuts, sugar and orange blossom water, this one could also be deep-fried.

We made a batch at home, this past weekend, and filled them with Ashta and a mixture of walnuts. The cooked doughs were so delicious, I ate few plain qatayef, without any filling. Since I love doughs, I couldn’t just look at them and fill them, I had to eat few pieces. So delicious…they were fluffy, light and soft.

Preparing the batter is so easy, and takes no time. And cooking the Qatayef is a fun thing to do.

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Eid el Berbara or Saint Barbara’s Day

6 Dec

Kids wearing costumes for a competition party at Eid el Berbara

Eid el Berbara, celebrated on December 4th, is a very popular holiday here in Lebanon, specially among children because they have the occasion to disguise the way they like, to wear any kind of costumes, scary masks. It is the eastern Halloween.

This holiday refers to Saint Barbara who disguised herself in different characters in order to escape the Romans who were persecuting her. She used to hide in wheat fields. That’s why we eat this wheat  dessert at Sainte Barbara’s Day.

Boiled wheat topped with cashews, almonds, walnuts, raisins, sultanas and sweetened with either sugar or honey.

The children wear their costumes or masks and tour the neighborhood, visit the houses for trick or treats… They receive either sweets, candy or money…. and when present at your doorstep, they start singing a special song for Saint Berbara.

 

As for the traditional food, several sweets are prepared for this occasions. And yummii, how delicious they are!!!  There are, boiled whole wheat, flavored with anis, served with almonds, blanched or unblanched, pistachios, raisins, walnuts, pine nuts, and sweetened with either sugar or honey and with a drizzle of orange blosson water. Also a sweet called Qatayef, a sweet dough like a crêpe filled with either ashta (cream), which we drizzle over some sugar syrup (Qater) and rose petals cooked with sugar syrup, or a mixture of crushed walnuts with sugar and orange blossom water.  And a fried dough soaked in sugar syrup called Maacroun.

Qatayef with mixture of walnuts, sugar & orange blossom water