2.3 Ghorayeba

Makes about 30

These sweet, delicate, melt-in-the-mouth biscuits were a speciality of Aznif, the kitchen doyenne of The Yerevan restaurant, who served them with pieces of halva and rose-scented Turkish delight. I never worked up the nerve to ask her if those were homemade also. Dainty cups of sweet, muddy, cardamom-infused Arabic coffee and scurrilous conversation were the only other accompaniments necessary.

  • 450 g unsalted butter
  • 225 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 450 g plain flour
  • 1 pinch of ground black pepper
  • Blanched almonds to decorate

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F / gas mark 3.
  • First, clarify the butter. Melt it over a low heat, taking care not to let it brown. Skim off any froth, and then carefully pour the clear, yellow butter into a bowl, leaving the white residue behind. Refrigerate until solid.
  • Put the solidified butter into the bowl of your mixer and beat until creamy.
  • Add the sifted icing sugar a little at a time until it is fully incorporated.
  • Add the flour and the black pepper a little at a time, beating continuously until a fairly stiff dough has formed.
  • Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and knead well on a floured surface until smooth and pliable.
  • Put the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge, take a rounded tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a sausage shape about 12 – 15 cm long.
  • Join the ends to make a ring and cover the joint with a blanched almond. Repeat until all of the dough is used.
  • Place the ghorayeba on a lightly greased baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes. They should not be brown like biscuits, but very pale — almost cream — in colour, with the almonds just beginning to turn golden.
  • Serve with strong, sweet Arabic coffee and, if you want to go the whole hog, accompany them with cubes of halva, pieces of rose-flavoured Turkish delight and Medjool dates.

The Just Not Kosher recipe collection is available to buy as a limited-edition card set from our shop. If you’d rather save cash and trees, feel free to browse our recipes here. If you like what you see and think we should make more, please make a contribution – we’d love to expand the collection and release new recipe sets.