Andalusian Pastries
These recipes are from An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century as translated by Charles Perry. Duke Cariadoc recently webbed this cookbook.
The main thing I have notice with the Andalusian recipes, I have redacted is the use of oil, instead of other fats. I have used Olive oil as this oil, working on the knowledge that it is still a common oil in the region today.
Another ingredients use I have noted is that sugar is used as much as honey in these recipes. During the Andalusian time period, sugar was introduced to the Spanish peninsula as well in Sicily . I do not think that it was very common but much more common in the rest of Europe at this time.
The original recipes are followed by my redaction for it. That is except the last recipe, Recipe of the Necessities of Bread and Confection. In which the original is there but we will try to work this redaction here today.

The Preparation of dhn (Ears)

Knead white flour with water and oil without leaven, then roll out little thin qursas, like the qursas of aqr n, and let them be as big as the palm of a hand or bigger. Fold in two, and mix fold with fold, and open their edges, and fry, after inserting thin sticks into them so that the open ends do not seal. And when they are fried, make a filling of pistachios or almonds and sugar and knead with rosewater, and stuff the "ears" with them. Whoever wishes to aromatize the stuffing [with spices] may. Then pour into a plate and moisten with stiffly thickened rosewater syrup, after sprinkling with rosewater. And sprinkle with sugar, galingale [literally, "wood"], clove and ground cinnamon and use.

The "mix fold with fold" instruction is vague, but we may proceed on the assumption that the product will look like an ear when fried. I must say that the prospect of eating an "ear" stuffed with green paste bothers me. (CP)

My redaction:

Pastry Filling

2 cups White Flour 1 cup Pistachios or Almond, ground

cup Olive Oil cup Sugar

Water 2 tbs. Rosewater

Olive Oil for Frying

Syrup Topping

cup Rosewater Sugar

3/4 cup Water tsp. Galingale*

2 cups Sugar tsp. Clove, ground

tsp. Cinnamon, ground

Make the pastry dough with the flour and oil, adding as much water as neccessary. This will make a very soft pastry dough, be prepared. Let the dough rest for at least a half-hour.

While the dough is resting make a sugar syrup with the rosewater, sugar and water. Cook in a thick bottom pot until thick (about 200F.). Cool and reserve. Mix the topping ingredients together.

When the dough has rested, form small balls of the dough and then roll into circles approximately 4 inches in diameter and a inch thick. Fold circles in half, form into a cone with a open end at the point. Deep fat fry in the other olive oil. Drain.

If you have access to a food processor, grind your nuts in it. When they are processed add the sugar and rosewater so that it stick together. Fill the cones or ears with the nut mixture. Drizzle with rose syrup. Sprinkle with the topping mixture.


*note: This is hard to find, but not impossible. I substituted Ginger, relative of it.


Stuffed Muqawwara, a Hollowed Pastry

Sift a ratl and a half of wheat flour [p. 29 verso] well, knead it with the yolks of fifteen eggs and as much fresh milk as they will bear. Put in a little leavening and let the dough be stiff, make a qursa like a raghf of this, and leave it to rise. Then fill a frying pan with fresh oil and take it to the fire, and when it has heated, put in the raghf , turn it little by little, and watch that it not break apart. Then turn it over and when it has browned a little, take it out and put it in a dish and hollow it out as one hollow out muqawwara . Take out all the crumbs that are in it and crumble it by hand until they are pounded fine. Then take sufficient peeled walnuts and almonds and sugar, pound them well and put a layer in the muqawwara , then a layer of crumbs, until it is full; and sprinkle sugar between every two layers and sprinkle during that with rosewater. Then boil fresh clarified butter and good honey, pour it on the muqawwara and when it makes a boiling sound, put the lid [the removed crust] back on top and seal it, and pour the rest of the honey and butter over the lid, sprinkle with sugar, and present it.

My redaction:

Pastry Filling

5 to 6 cups Flour Crumbs from Pastry

8 to 10 Yolks cup Walnuts, ground

cup Milk cup Almonds, ground

1 package Yeast dissolved in water cup Sugar

Olive Oil app 2 tbs. Rosewater


8 oz. Butter (if you are using unsalted butter add tsp. of salt)

1 cup Honey

Dissolve the Yeast in cup warm water. Add all the pastry ingredients together. Mix as if making bread dough. Leave to rise. After the first rising punch down, form into balls approximately the size of a lime. Deep fat fry in the Olive oil. Drain.

When cool, take a sharp knife and cut off the top quarter of each of the pastries, reserve tops. Hollow out each one and reserve the crumbs for the filling.

Mix the walnuts with the almonds. Fill each of the pastries with layers of each of the fillings in turn nut layer, crumb layer, and a sugar layer. Sprinkle with the rosewater in between layers. Fill to the top.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottom kettle. Add the honey. Bring to a boil, cooking until thick. While still hot ladle syrup into each pastry, replace top and seal with more syrup. Let cool. Serve.

Khabsa with Pomegranate

Take half a ratl of sugar and put it in a metal or earthenware pot and pour in three ratls of juice of sweet table pomegranates [ rummn sufri ; probably tart pomegranates were more common in cooking] and half an qiya of rosewater, with a penetrating smell. Boil it gently and after two boilings, add half a mudd of semolina and boil it until the semolina is cooked. Throw in the weight of a quarter dirham of ground and sifted saffron, and three qiyas of almonds. Put it in a dish and sprinkle over it the like of pounded sugar, and make balls [literally, hazelnuts] of this.

My redaction:

2 cups Sugar

3 tbs. Pomegranate Syrup

2 cups Water

1/3 cup Rosewater

1 1/3 to 1 lbs. Semolina, Fine Grain

10 to 12 oz. Ground Almonds

4 or 5 threads of Saffron

Power Sugar to roll in

Add sugar, pomegranate syrup, water and rosewater together. Bring to boil, cooking until the syrup stage (approximately 200 F). Add the Semolina, cook until done. Soak Saffron in 2-tbs. warm water, until colored. Add saffron water and almonds to Semolina mix.

Let cool down until you can handle it. Form into balls about the size of a walnut. Roll balls in powered sugar. Serve, makes about 60 balls.

Recipe for Mujabbana (Fried Cheese Pie)

Know that mujabbana isn't prepared with only one cheese, but of two; that is, of cow's and sheep's milk cheese. Because if you make it with only sheep cheese, it falls apart and the cheese leaves it and it runs. And if you make it with cow's cheese, it binds, and lets the water run and becomes one sole mass and the parts don't separate. The principle in making it is that the two cheeses bind together. Use one-fourth part cow's milk and three-quarters of sheep's. Knead all until [p. 64, recto] some binds with its parts another [Huici Miranda observes that this passage is faintly written and only a few letters can be made out] and becomes equal and holds together and doesn't run in the frying pan, but without hardening or congealing. If you need to soften it, soften it with fresh milk, recently milked from the cow. And let the cheese not be very fresh, but strong without...[words missing]...that the moisture has gone out of. Thus do the people of our land make it in the west of al-Andalus , as in Cordoba and Seville and Jerez , and elsewhere in the the land of the West [here written as al-Maghrib ].

Manner of Making it

Knead wheat or semolina flour with some yeast into a well-made dough and moisten it with water little by little until it loosens. If you moisten it with fresh milk instead of water it is better, and easy, inasmuch as you make it with your palm. Roll it out and let it not have the consistency of mushahhada , but firmer than that, and lighter than musammana dough. When the leaven begins to enter it, put the frying pan on the fire with a lot of oil, so that it is drenched with what you fry it with. Then wet your hand in water and cut off a piece of the dough. Bury inside it the same amount of rubbed cheese. Squeeze it with your hand, and whatever leaves and drains from the hand, gather it up [? the meaning of this verb eludes me] carefully. Put it in the frying pan while the oil boils. When it has browned, remove it with an iron hook prepared for it and put it in a dipper ["iron hand"] similar to a sieve held above the frying pan, until its oil drips out. Then put it on a big platter and dust it with a lot of sugar and ground cinnamon. There are those who eat it with honey or rose syrup and it is the best you can eat.

My redaction:

Pastry Filling

2 cups Flour, white or Semolina 8 oz. Farmers Cheese

1 pkg. Yeast 8 oz. Cream Cheese

cup Milk or Water (more might be need) Salt to taste

Olive oil for Frying

Sugar and ground Cinnamon

Optional: Honey or Rosewater/ Sugar Syrup

Heat the olive oil to frying tempura.

Proof the yeast in cup warm (not hot water) water, add a little sugar and/or flour if neccessary. Add the proofed yeast to flour. Add water or milk to flour mixture until you have a smooth dough. Cover and let rest until it has risen.

Mix the cheeses together. Taste, add salt if nessairy.

Roll out (or pat out)dough till about inch thick and 5 to 6 inches around. Take a palm full of cheese mixture, mold together in your hand. Place in side of dough circle and fold the dough around it and seal. It should look like a turn-over.

Fry in oil, turning over so to brown both sides. Drain. Dust with sugar and cinnamon, if you would like coat in a sugar syrup flavored with rose-water.

Recipe of the Necessities of Bread and Confection

Take a ratl of wheat flour and knead it with twenty egg yolks, a little water and oil. Then make small, very thin round flatbreads of it, and as soon as they are made, fry them in plenty of oil until they are close to browning. Put them in a dish, boil honey a little and clean it of its foam, and cut almonds and walnuts into the honey, pour it into the dish, sprinkle with sugar, set whole pine-nuts about, and present it.

The word translated as "necessaries" ( haw'ij ), which can also mean "things," is used in some cookery writings to mean ingredients other than spices added for flavoring. (CP)

My redaction:

Flat Bread

2 cups flour 10 egg yolks or 4 whole eggs

2 to 3 tablespoons of water 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil

Olive oil for frying


1 to 1 cups honey cup chopped almonds

cup chopped walnuts

sugar and pine-nuts for decoration

Mix the flour and egg yolks (or eggs) together until smooth batter. Add water and oil as nessary to achieve the texture needed. (I see this as a crepe or pancake batter.) Pour batter on to a frying pan to make small pancakes. Fry until they just become colored. Move to a waiting plate with a small lip.

Heat the honey until warm. Add the nuts to it. Pour honey mixture on to the waiting pancakes. Sprinkle with sugar and pine-nuts. Serve.

The Making of Qhiriyt

Take sugar and pound sweet almonds well; take equal parts of each in a mortar and mix them and knead them with fragrant rosewater, and perfume them with fine spices, like cinnamon, Chinese cinnamon, lavender, pepper, galingale, and nutmeg. Add these in proportion to what the sugar and almonds can bear. Beat all this well and the kneading will be stronger. Then make small rings of this in the shape of ka'k . Then take a ratl or half a ratl of fine flour or as much as the sugar and crushed almonds can bear, knead it with khubaiz and salt and leave it until it rises. Then take some starch and put into that starch the dough with water. Then take a frying pan and clean it well and put in some fresh oil, and if it is oil of sweet almonds, it is better. Put this on the fire and when the oil boils, take the rings made before, [p. 28 verso] one after another, and dip [reading ghumisat forhummisat ] them in that dough and throw them in that boiling oil, so that they cook before they are taken out, and they have begun to brown a very little. Arrange and order them on a dish in an attractive order. Then pour over them skimmed honey from the comb, or well-thickened julep syrup [i.e. rose-flavored sugar syrup], and sprinkle with ground sugar and present it, God willing.

My redaction:

Filling Batter

Sugar* Flour

Almonds, ground * Yeast

Rosewater Water

Spices: starch, Wheat or Rice



Lavender flowers




Olive Oil for Frying

Honey or Rose syrup


*Note Almond Paste can be substituted.

Heat oil to frying tempura. Proof yeast.

Grind the sugar and almonds in a food processor until it forms a paste, or use Almond paste. Mix the spices of you choice in the almond paste. Form into rings.

Mix flour and yeast together. Add starch and water to form a thin batter. Coat the rings in the batter and fry until golden. Drain. Coat in honey or Rose flavored syrup, sprinkle with sugar. Serve.