Friday, April 14, 2017

Şekerpare (“sheh-ker-pah-reh”)

It all started when one of colleagues at the university , Emir, and his wife, Dijana, came up with their own version of şekerpare (“sheh-ker-pah-reh”) that they once tasted on their summer vacation in Istanbul a couple of years ago. 

For their own şekerpare, they replaced some of the ingredients wıth the ones they like better; reduced the sugar for the syrup; added chopped walnuts into the dough and made bigger cookies all of which made their şekerpare look unrecognisable to me. They tasted perfect though, I should admit. 

Well, I immediately realised that I had not shared any şekerpare recipe on my blog and so decided to use my sister's failproof recipe for this highly popular dessert from Turkish cuisine. When you give it a try, you will see yourself that şekerpare isn't tricky at all and it is super delicious. Simplicity is often the king when it comes to food after all, isn't it?


For the dough

  • 250 grams margarine/butter, soft at room temperature 
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 4 tablespoons semolina 
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconuts
  • 160 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (1 packet) baking powder 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour (add the last cup gradually)
  • hazelnuts/walnuts/ almonds for top depending on your choice
  • 1 egg yolk, optional, for brushing on top

For the syrup

  • 800 grams sugar
  • 1 litre water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


1. Prepare the syrup first.

  • Add in a saucepan the sugar, water and lemon juice.
  • Bring to a boil then gently simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has slightly thickened. 
  • Remove the pan from the stove and set aside to cool down to the room temperature. 

2.  Make the cookies.

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C degrees.
  • Grease a baking pan or tray with margarine.   
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and knead them well until smooth. 
  • Take small pieces of the dough and roll them between your palms to make balls about the size of a walnut. 
  • Place the dough balls onto the pan leaving some space in between.
  • Brush on top with beaten egg yolk. This is totally optional. I do this because it gives a golden-brown color with a highly glossy finish.
  • Press an almond, walnut or a hazelnut into the center of each cookie.
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cookies get golden brown. 
  • Remove from the oven.

3. Soak the cookies in the syrup.

  • Once you remove the cookies from the oven, drizzle the syrup all over the cookies slowly using a large spoon and let them soak in.
  • When you've used up all the syrup, cover the pan/tray with foil and let the cookies soak all the syrup and cool completely. 
  • Garnish with shredded coconut or ground pistachio before serving. 

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