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Thursday, November 3, 2011


Photo by: sologak1.blogspot.com

Arberry, John Arthur, 1905-1969. He graduated from Pembroke College, Cambridge and studied in Cairo 1932-1934. He became chair of the Persian Department at the University of London in 1944 and two years later became the head of Near East and Middle Eastern Department there before going to Cambridge the following year after being elected professor of Arabic. He continued there until his death. Throughout his life, he translated innumerous manuscripts from Arabic to English. His translation of A Baghdad Cookery Book (Kitāb al-tabīkh ) is of primary concern for the contrast of the culture in the Near East with European civilization during the Middle Ages. [Roden. “Forward.” 2001:17]



1 3/4 cup lukewarm water
3 cups white all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups white bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons raw sugar
Medieval Doughnuts (Aqras Mukarrara)
Photo from: Fearless Kitchen
2 tablespoons olive oil

Frying pan
Food processor
Slotted spatula
Stand mixer with dough hook attachment


1. Combine the 2 teaspoons raw sugar with the water and the yeast in a bowl. Set aside until the yeast becomes markedly foamy.
2. Combine the flours, salt and olive oil in the bowl of your stand mixer.
3. Add the yeast mixture.  Knead on the lowest setting until the ingredients are combined, then increase speed slightly (from 1 to 3 of 11 on mine) and knead until a soft dough is formed. It should form a ball around the dough hook.
4. Cover the dough and set aside to rise for about an hour or until very puffy. The length of time this will take depends on the heat of your kitchen.
5. Meanwhile, make the rest of the components. Start with the syrup: combine 1 1/2 cups water with 1 1/2 cups sugar in the saucepan.
6. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
7. Bring to a boil. Boil at least 1 minute.
8. Remove from heat. Wait about thirty seconds and add the rosewater.
9. To make the filling, combine 2 cups raw sugar and 1/3 pound almonds in your food processor. Process to a fine powder.
10. Add enough of the syrup to make it into a firm paste - you shouldn't need to add more than 1/2 cup but if you do that's okay.
11. Clean out your food processor and grind the remaining raw sugar into a fine powder.
12. When the dough is ready, pull off a small chunk of it, about as much as will fit between your thumb and forefinger if you touch the tips together.
13. Roll the piece of dough into a ball.
14. Break out a little bit of the almond paste from the food processor. Roll it into a ball and flatten it with your hands.
15. Pat the cake into a flat disc and set aside. Repeat with the remaining dough.
16. Heat the oil in your frying pan.  You want enough to fry the cakes without burning but not so much that you're deep-frying.
17. Add a few of the dough discs.  The number you add will depend on the size of your frying pan, but do NOT overcrowd your pan. Not only does that lead to poor results it tends to lead to house fires. So don't do it.
18. Fry the pieces on both sides for about a minute.
19. Dip each pastry into the syrup, then into the ground sugar, then return it to the pan.
20. Repeat this procedure twice more, setting the discs aside after the third sugaring. Finish with the remaining discs.
21. Serve immediately

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