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Znoud el- sitt

Znoud el -sitt is popular pastry with various fillings in the Middle East.

It is one of most famous Syrian sweets and it is eaten fresh, using the finest natural ingredients, to give a delicious flavour that distinguishes it from other sweets.

Znoud el-sit is made with thin sheets of phyllo dough that are wrapped into small elongated rolls while the center is filled with ashta (milk cream), then fried and dipped in sugar syrup, flavored with blossom water before being sprinkled with crushed pistachios. It is crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

This dessert is often served on all occasions and especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

 Znoud el -sit, with slightly different names, can be found in numerous countries, including Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, its name - lady’s upper arms - because the round, elongated shape of the pastry resembles lady’s arms.

Ingredients

16 oz. phyllo dough sheets

Oil for frying

For the cream filling:

2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon fine semolina

¼ teaspoon mastic to seal the phyllo sheets

5 tablespoons flour

5 tablespoons water

For the sugar syrup:

1¼ cup sugar

1 cup water

1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed

1 tablespoon rose water or orange blossom water

2 tablespoons roasted pistachios coarsely ground to garnish

Instructions:

Syrup: Place the sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix with a wooden spoon and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer over low to medium heat for 15 minutes uncovered until the liquid is reduced and concentrated.

Remove from heat, add the rose water (or orange blossom water) and let cool completely.

Cream filling: Add the whole milk, cornstarch and semolina in a nonstick pan over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture is bubbling and it thickens until creamy.

Reserve and let it cool completely, stirring occasionally.

To seal the phyllo sheets

Preparation

1-In a bowl, whisk together the flour and water.

2-Using a pair of scissors, cut the phyllo sheets into 3 equal strips of about 11 x 3 inches.

3-Lay a first phyllo strip vertically on a work surface, then place a second strip horizontally on top of the vertical strip to create a cross shape.

4- Place a tablespoon of cream in the center of the cross.

5- Fold the ends of the horizontal strip over the cream.Then roll up the vertical band.

6- Spread the mixture to seal around the edge and continue rolling using a brush to form a cylinder.

7- Renew the process until all the phyllo sheets have been used.Leave to rest in a cool place for 30 minutes.

8- Heat a large volume of oil in a deep skillet and fry the znoud el sit until golden brown.

9- Remove the pastries and immerse in the completely cooled sugar syrup.

10- Arrange in a serving dish and sprinkle with ground pistachios.

 

Hamsa Zughib

 

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