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Sweet Delights from a Thousand and One…
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Sweet Delights from a Thousand and One Nights: The Story of Traditional…

by Habeeb Salloum

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Exc/exc. 1st ed.

This book delves into the history of Arab sweets and provides both historic and modern recipes for them. The latter allows the reader to easily compare early medieval approaches to those desserts with the versions and nonArab offspring that are still made today. The authors also present intermediate steps between old and new.

The history and recipes are broken into the following chapters:
• Basic Recipes;
• Pastries;
• Cookies;
• Cakes and Pies;
• Candies; and
• Puddings and Other Sweet Delights.
Also worth noting are the glossary and the bibliography. In addition, see the section “Key Ingredients in Arab Sweets”, pp. 3-4, and the Arabic terms that are sprinkled throughout the book.

Note that the recipe names are almost always in transliterated Arabic, and most such names will not be recognized by those of us who lack significant knowledge of the topic and the language.

This is a terrific book! I look forward to acquiring the subsequent book by this trio!

Recipes that catch my eye (limited to redactions, also by my avoidance of deep-fat frying... and lengthy puttering): thick custardlike cream for fillings**** (p. 16; aka Arab pudding / Arab cornstarch pudding with rosewater and orange blossom water; OMG! Do it! Just eat it as is, probably reducing the cream); sweet sambusa (p. 21; see the filling; possibly try as croissant filling → Arab-style almond croissants; filling includes almonds, cinnamon, cardamom, and rosewater); baqlawa (p. 29; xref: baklava; see use of orange blossom water, also comment re making a drier, less-sweet version at bottom of p. 29); pistachio-stuffed cookies*** (p. 113); almond-filled cookies (p. 115); Arab shortbread (p. 128; with orange blossom water); polvorones a la Andaluza (p. 129; with rosewater and cinnamon; related to wedding cakes, snowballs; a possible alternative to snowballs → holiday cookie); creamy milk pudding topped with apricot paste*** (p. 204; a layered pudding, bottom part includes orange blossom water, rosewater, almonds, and pistachios; top contains dried apricots and orange juice); jellied watermelon pudding** (p. 207; with rosewater, cinnamon, candied fruit, pistachios); fig and almond balls (p. 212; with orange, rosewater, and cinnamon); semolina balls*** (p. 223; interesting; try a smaller amount); with pomegranate syrup, rosewater, almonds, cinnamon, etc.); honeyed dates** (p. 231; dates stuffed with almonds in a syrup that contains rosewater, cinnamon, ginger, and poppyseeds); dates stuffed with almond paste**** (p. 231; make your own almond paste, includes orange blossom water and cinnamon); dates stuffed with pistachio paste*** (p. 233; make your own pistachio paste, includes rosewater); dates soaked in watermelon** (pages 233, 234; different; try a smaller amount in a smaller melon). ( )
  ErstwhileEditor | Mar 13, 2016 |
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