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Sekerpare; Tender and Moist Turkish Semolina Cookies in Syrup

Sekerpare; tender and moist Turkish semolina cookies in syrup

Sekerpare; tender and moist Turkish semolina cookies in syrup

Sekerpare is a much loved Turkish dessert, made in Turkish homes and a huge favorite of my dear brother-in-law, Mehmet. You can also find Sekerpare in bakeries and patisseries, pastane as we call it, all around in Turkey. Semolina based national favorite Sekerpare would always appear at my mother’s tea time spread, during celebrations with family and friends, as well as at religious festivities as when marking the end of Ramadan.

Sekerpare means “a piece of sweet” in Old Turkish and I love the crumbly, lighter texture semolina brings to Sekerpare, it simply melts in your mouth. My version is a little lighter and less sweet, fragrant with lemon juice and lemon zest.

Make sure to leave enough space between each sekerpare on the baking tray, as they expand during baking.

Make sure to leave enough space between each sekerpare on the baking tray, as they expand during baking.

A few tips for a successful Sekerpare: 1) Make sure to leave enough space between each sekerpare on the baking tray, as they expand during baking. 2) First make the syrup, as it needs to cool down. Pour the cooled syrup over hot Sekerpare and let the Sekerpare cookies absorb the syrup as they cool. Once all the syrup absorbed, Sekerpare will be soft and tender enough to eat with a fork.

Pour the cooled syrup over hot Sekerpare and let the Sekerpare cookies absorb the syrup as they cool.

Pour the cooled syrup over hot Sekerpare and let the Sekerpare cookies absorb the syrup as they cool.

We enjoy Sekerpare with Turkish coffee, Turkish tea, cay for a tea time treat or as a dessert after meal. I hope you can have a go at this delicious and easy to make treat.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Adapted from Adventures in Turkish Cooking, Anatolia Cookery Book

5.0 from 3 reviews
Sekerpare; Tender and Moist Turkish Semolina Cookies in Syrup
 
Sekerpare is a much loved Turkish dessert, made in Turkish homes. Sekerpare means “a piece of sweet” in Old Turkish and I love the crumbly, lighter texture semolina brings to Sekerpare, it simply melts in your mouth. My version is a little lighter and less sweet, fragrant with lemon juice and lemon zest. We enjoy Sekerpare with Turkish coffee, Turkish tea, cay for a tea time treat or as a dessert after meal; hope you can give it a go and enjoy too.
Author:
Recipe type: Semolina based Turkish Desserts
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 20 pieces
Ingredients
  • Zest of 1 small lemon
  • 115 gr/ 4 oz. / ½ cup sugar
  • 125 gr/ 4 ½ oz. unsalted butter
  • 300 gr/ 10 ½ oz. /2 cups plain (all – purpose flour)
  • 95 gr / 3 ¼ oz. / ½ cup fine grained semolina
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 ml/ 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. light olive oil (and a little extra to grease the baking tray)
  • 20 blanched almonds or hazelnuts
  • Small bowl of cold water (to help shape the sekerpare cookies)
  • For the syrup:
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 345 gr/ 12 oz. /1 ½ cup sugar
  • 480 ml/ 16 fl. oz. / 2 cups water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ Gas mark 4
  2. First make the syrup. Grate the lemon zest into a bowl and set aside for the dough.
  3. Squeeze the lemon juice into a cup.
  4. Combine the 345 gr/ 12 oz. /1 ½ cup sugar and 480 ml/ 16 fl. oz. / 2 cups water in a heavy sauce pan over the medium heat and bring to the boil. Stir and let the sugar dissolve.
  5. Add the lemon juice, reduce the heat and simmer for a further 15 minutes for the syrup to thicken slightly. Turn the heat off and set the syrup aside to cool.
  6. Now, let’s make the dough. Gently melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat (or cut in small chunks and melt in microwave for 30 – 40 seconds, mixing half way).
  7. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the semolina. Make a well in the middle and pour in the butter. Stir in the 2 eggs, 115 gr/ 4 oz./ ½ cup sugar, lemon zest, 2 tbsp. light olive oil and the baking powder.
  8. Knead for 5 minutes, until you achieve a soft, moist dough. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
  9. Have a small bowl of cold water nearby. Knead the dough again for 5 minutes. Then wet your hands lightly with cold water and divide the dough and shape into twenty ping pong sized balls.
  10. Grease a baking tray with a little of light olive oil (about 1 tbsp.) and place the sekerpare dough balls side by side, making sure you leave extra space between them to expand. Gently press down on top of each ball to flatten slightly.
  11. Push an almond or hazelnut in the center of each sekerpare ball.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until they start to turn light brown.
  13. Remove the sekerpare from the oven and pour cooled syrup over hot sekerpare cookies. Leave to cool and let the sekerpare cookies absorb the syrup for 15 minutes; they will get soft and tender.
  14. Serve cooled sekerpare with Turkish tea or coffee. You can keep sekerpare cookies covered in a container at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Notes
A few tips for a successful Sekerpare: 1) Make sure to leave enough space between each sekerpare on the baking tray, as they expand during baking. 2) First make the syrup, as it needs to cool down. Pour the cooled syrup over hot Sekerpare and let the Sekerpare cookies absorb the syrup as they cool. Once all the syrup absorbed, Sekerpare will be soft and tender enough to eat with a fork.

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Semolina Halva with Pine Nuts – Irmik Helvasi

The semolina halva, Irmik Helvasi, is amongst the foods  that is dear to my heart. I love the comforting Semolina (Irmik) halva and its inviting aroma takes me right back home. Semolina Halva is also the traditional dessert during religious occasions and Holy Nights in Islam, where it is customary to share the halva with family and friends.

Buttery semolina with crunchy pine nuts and cinnamon, delicious and comforting - takes me right back home

Buttery semolina with crunchy pine nuts and cinnamon, delicious and comforting – takes me right back home

Irmik Helvasi, Semolina halva is one of the most well known halvas in Turkey. Halva (helva) signifies good fortune and is made not only during religious festivals, but also events like moving houses. It is also traditional for a bereaved family to offer semolina halva to friends when a family member passes away.

Although Irmik helvasi, Semolina Halva, is made with such simple ingredients like semolina, butter, sugar and pine nuts, it requires skill to get it right and is regarded by some as a culinary masterpiece. The silky blend of buttery semolina with crunchy pine nuts offers such a wonderful blend of texture and taste; the dust of cinnamon over halva complements really well too.

Many versions of semolina halva are available in different cuisines; Turkish version of semolina halva uses coarse semolina, rather than the semolina flour. You can find coarse semolina in Turkish, Middle Eastern shops; even at shops specializing in Mediterranean cuisine. In the US, the online Turkish store Tulumba.com also carries coarse semolina.

I hope you enjoy this comforting, delicious semolina halva.

Adapted from Ghillie Basan’s The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking

Serves 6-8

110gr/4oz/1/2 cup butter

60ml/4 tbsp light olive oil

450gr/1 lb. /scant 2 ¾ cups coarse semolina – irmik –

45ml/3 tbsp pine nuts

900ml/1 ½ pints/ 3 ¾ cups milk – whole milk preferred-

335gr/12oz/1 ½ cup sugar

10 ml/ 2 tsp ground cinnamon to decorate

15ml/1 tbsp sautéed pine nuts to decorate – optional

 

Stir in the pine nuts and semolina to cook with the butter and olive oil.

Stir in the pine nuts and semolina to cook with the butter and olive oil.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a heavy pan, stir in the pine nuts and semolina and cook over a medium heat, stirring all the time, until lightly browned.

In the same time, warm the milk in a separate pan and stir in the sugar, mix well and let the sugar dissolve. Turn the heat off once the milk is hot (but not boiling) and sugar is dissolved.

Pour the milk & sugar mixture into semolina & pine nuts mixture and lover the heat. Mix well and cook over low heat until the milk has been absorbed; stirring continuously for about 10-15 minutes. Turn the heat off. Place a paper towel over the pan and cover with the lid, let the helva rest for about 10 minutes – the paper towel will absorb all the excess moisture-.

If you like, sauté 1 tablespoon pine nuts in a drizzle of olive oil for a few minutes. Spoon the semolina halva into individual bowls, and serve with a dust of cinnamon and a few sauteed pine nuts over them.

Coarse Semolina Halva - Irmik Helvasi

Coarse Semolina Halva – Irmik Helvasi

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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