Last Updated: 2021-03-12
6 SERVINGS MODERATE 670 CAL DESSERT 110 MIN (95 MIN PREP + 15 MIN COOK TIME)
Ramadan is a time of year that involves the entire Muslim community, and marvelously complex.
Certain foods take the limelight during Ramadan, such as chebakia, the favorite sweet to break each day’s fast largely due to its high nutritional content.
A hug to all Muslims, to whom I dedicate today’s entry, focused on cooking this traditional dessert.
Let’s get started!
1 packet of baking powder
100 grams of roasted almonds
75 grams of toasted sesame (more if you want to sprinkle some on top)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
50 ml of orange blossom water
1 teaspoon of anise seeds
1 tablespoon of vinegar
25 grams of butter
50 ml of olive oil
100 ml of water
500 ml of honey
1 Prepare the ingredients for the dough: purée the almonds (which are already roasted and peeled) in a blender so that there are no large pieces and we can work the dough easily with a roller. Make a paste with the toasted sesame seeds, tossing them into the blender along with a good drizzle of oil and anise beans.
2 Add the pureed almonds, an egg, cinnamon and a tablespoon of vinegar to a bowl, mixing everything with a fork. Next, add the sesame paste, oil and orange blossom water (this last ingredient is optional if you want to add a fragrant nuance). Mix everything.
3 Put the mixture into a bowl and add the yeast. Sift the flour, then add it into the bowl little by little while kneading, making sure to smooth out any lumps.
4 Place the dough on a surface, add water little by little and continue to work it for at least 15 minutes. There will be times when you think that it is getting sticky but don’t worry. Keep kneading it with care and patience and it will return to a normal texture.
At this point some will be tempted to not add water because the dough seems consistent enough already. If you don’t add water, I can almost guarantee that after you fry it, it will be too hard and dry.
5 Once ready, make a ball with it and wrap it in plastic wrap, letting it rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
6 After the rest time, spread it well and divide it into three parts to make it easier to work with. Take one of the pieces and stretch it with a roller (or better yet with a pasta machine if you have one) until it is as thin as possible.
7 Make roughly 2 ½ inch (6 cm) squares (approximately the size of your palm). Make 4 parallel cuts on the inside of each one being careful not to cut all the way to the edge, as illustrated in the following photo. There is a special chebakia cutter especially for this purpose.
8 Now comes the most complicated part by far: shaping. It requires patience and dozens of failed attempts (fortunately the dough can be reused). Think of the square as having five columns. Put one finger under and through columns 1, 3 and 5. Next, placing another finger under columns 2 and 4, flip it inside out like a sock and you’ll get a flower shape.
9 While you are shaping the dough flowers, heat up sunflower oil over high heat and heat up honey in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Put the flowers into the oil as you make them. It is important to leave them just long enough, so that they are not too dry or hard, so as soon as they are golden brown remove them and put them directly into the saucepan, letting them rest with the hot honey for at least five minutes.
10 Plate them, sprinkle toasted sesame on top… and they are ready! All that remains is to to store them in a tupperware container on a highly visible shelf and succumb to temptation at a rate of one chebakia every fifteen minutes, or keep five or six and give the rest to neighbors and friends. Let your conscience be your guide.
- It’s important to use pure honey with no additives so as not to affect the final flavor.
- If you don’t have almonds or want to try a variation, substitute the 100 grams of almonds for 75 grams of pine nuts. The pine nuts also need to be toasted before grinding them.
- If honey is not one of your favorite ingredients, you can always water it down or simply use it as a garnish on top instead of soaking the chebakias in it.
- They’re even better the next day!
And with these last tips, that’s a wrap for the chebakia recipe. I hope that it encourages you to make them but, if not, please try them when you go to Morocco. It’s usually the most common sweet in pastry shops and the main source of the smell of honey and sesame in the air. Much love to all and see you in the next post!
If you want to learn more check out our Moroccan food guide.