Sohan Asali – Walnut brittle

To most Persians, Sohan Asali is a beloved and familiar sweet that is a prime example of Mehmoon-Navazi, a uniquely Persian style of over-the-top hospitality! To me, Sohan Asali is a reminder of the nearly forgotten years of 40 years ago when I lived in Iran and celebrated the Winter Solstice, called Shab-e Yalda in…

Ferni – Rose water rice pudding

This is Ferni, one of the most comforting and familiar dishes in Persian cuisine; a smooth and creamy dessert that is loved by both the old and the young. Though to call it *just* a dessert really doesn’t capture the essence and significance of this dish. Ferni is so much more than a sweet rice…

Sholeh Zard – Saffron and rosewater rice pudding

Sholeh Zard is a beloved and popular rice pudding that has all the quintessential flavors of a Persian dessert. Fragrant Persian rice is slowly simmered in a large body of water until it begins to soften. One by one, saffron, rosewater, and sugar find their way into the pot and diligently do their part to…

Shirini Napoleoni – Napoleon pastries

Shirini Napoleoni, or Napoleon pastries, are popular dessertys in Iran that are closely related to the French Mille-feuilles. The French name translates to “a thousand leaves”, referencing the layers of flaky and buttery puff pastry. Traditionally, a mille-feuille is made of three layers of puff pastry, alternating with two layers of crème pâtissière. The top…

Kayk-e Baghlava – Baklava cake

It is that time of year: once again, Nourouz is here! With the arrival of Nourouz, the Persian New Year, every Iranian diligently gathers specific items to be elegantly displayed on their Haftseen table (see more details below). This is a lesser-known version of baklava that takes the form of a cake, instead of the…

Kayk Yazdi – cardamom and rosewater cupcakes

Kayk Yazdi is to Iranians what vanilla or chocolate cupcakes are to Americans! I have yet to serve this cake (“kayk” in Farsi also translates to cupcakes in English) without generating a twinkle in the eye followed by an ear-to-ear smile. For anyone of Iranian origin, this familiar little treat evokes a sweet and tender…

Saffron and pear cake with Seville orange and pistachio frosting

There is so much to this cake, but not in the way you might think. It’s a simple cake, even if it does have some unique flavors. This cake tells the story of my life. Every ingredient, every choice, every combination, and every approach in the cooking method results from the experiences I have had…

Cayk-e sheer berenji – Cardamom and rose water rice cake

It’ll be no surprise that rice dishes are cherished and consumed in Persian cuisine. Rice found its way to Iran from China via the silk road, and took root in the Caspian Sea region, where the climate and landscape are very hospitable to rice production. Recently I’ve been reading about the wide variety of rice…

Naan-e Keshmeshi – Rosewater and raisin cookies

Sometimes simplicity is the best approach, and these rosewater and raisin cookies are just that: simple. Cream the butter, add eggs, and then the rest, and you’ll have these lightly rose-flavored buttery raisin cookies.

Koloucheh, Fuman style -Sweet pastries with creamy walnut and rosewater filling

This beauty is another of the Caspian Sea region’s contributions to Persian cuisine. Not only is this pastry unique to this region, but also the two provinces that border the Sea – Gilan, and Mazandaran – each have their own versions. Though a walnut paste is the most common filling, possible alternatives include dates, bananas,…