Lebanese Pastry

It doesn’t get any more of a tribute to Jeanie, my Nana, than this. This recipe for Lebanese pastry is so revered and sacred on my mom’s side of the family that I asked permission to share it. These are normally the strict domain of my big sister, who makes dozens and dozens of them for the Holidays since as far back as I can remember. She’s eleven years older than me, so by the time I could remember things she was already a teenager very accomplished at baking, ha! If I don’t get to travel south to her house for Christmas she always sends me a tin of them and I live for it. She learned them from my Nana and they are just so special.

Here's my wonderful and stunning Nana with my equally wonderful and dashing Papa! This is my little Christmas tribute to them.
Here’s my wonderful and stunning Nana with my equally wonderful and dashing Papa! This is my little Christmas tribute to them. This recipe that I’m sharing now is my take on the sacred family recipe, with a few little twists to make it my own. It was really exciting to start my own family tradition with them that I’ll be able to pass on to my children one day!
The Mahlab seeds are the key to Lebanese Pastry.
The first thing I worked on for the Lebanese pastry was the dough because it needed to sit overnight.  The key ingredient for flavor is this lovely spice. It’s called Mahlab and it is a gorgeous, fragrant Middle Eastern spice that is used a lot in Lebanese pastry. It’s actually the pit of the wild black cherry, and it can be found in its seed form or already ground. I found the seeds, so I ground up two teaspoons of them for the Lebanese pastry dough in my clean coffee grinder (I actually have one specially for grinding spices). The ground version can easily be found online though to save you that step!
The wet ingredients for the Lebanese pastry.
From there the dough for the Lebanese pastry came together easily in my food processor. I pulsed the dry ingredients together first. Then I slowly poured in my yeasty wet ingredients and also cracked in 3 eggs. The processor ran just until I had a pasty dough form. I transferred it to a bowl and covered it with plastic wrap. It sat and chilled in the refrigerator overnight to really let the yeast work and develop flavor in the dough.
The Lebanese pastry filling was so fragrant and yummy! Yup, I snuck a spoonful.
In the morning, the real labor of love began! I quickly put together the easy filling. In a big bowl I combined a bunch of finely diced walnuts, sugar, melted butter, rose water, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. Rose water is becoming more common and lots of shops carry bottles of it now. I stirred that all together thoroughly into the incredibly yummy Lebanese pastry filling! I may or may not have snuck a spoonful or three.
Pretty little discs of Lebanese pastry dough!
With the filling done and the dough done, it was time to assemble the Lebanese pastry! I took a quarter of the dough and rolled it out thin. Then I cut 12 little circles out from it. It was important to generously flour my work surface because the dough was so sticky.
The Lebanese pastry coming together!
I filled each of the circles with a scoop of filling on one half before I closed the other half over. Then I used a fork to make the pretty tine marks along the edge to really seal the Lebanese pastry. That first dozen went onto a baking tray and I repeated the process 3 more times. I ended up having filling leftover, so I used it in all kinds of things. I put it in my oatmeal in the morning and I also found little phyllo cups and just baked it in them for an extra dessert.
The Lebanese pastry fresh out of the oven!
I baked those lovely little pastries in batches until they were golden and glorious. They puffed up perfectly and looked so pretty!

I finished the Lebanese pastry with a generous sprinkle of powdered sugar while they were still warm. Then they finished cooling on cooling racks. It was really fun to make this Lebanese pastry and they were truly a labor of love. I liked to think that my Nana was smiling up there when I made them! Hope you all love them as much as we do in my family. xoxo

Lebanese Pastry
Lebanese Pastry
4.67 from 3 votes
Lebanese Pastry
Lebanese Pastry
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

This Lebanese pastry recipe is a sacred family recipe that means Christmas to me. They are tender and warmly spiced with gorgeous floral notes! 

Course: Dessert
Keyword: Lebanese Pastry, Pastry
Servings: 48 pastries
Calories: 346 kcal
Author: Jeanie and Lulu's Kitchen
Ingredients
FOR THE DOUGH
  • 2 teaspoons ground mahlab
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 sticks butter cold and diced
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 whole eggs
FOR THE FILLING
  • 12 ounces finely diced walnuts
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon rose water
Instructions
  1. First, make the dough. In the bowl of a large food processor combine the ground up Mahlab seeds, flour and salt. Pulse it together to aerate it. Add the cubed butter and pulse it again until the mixture is pebbly. In a separate bowl, add the warm water. Pour the yeast into it and let it dissolve, then gently stir in the evaporated milk. Then add the yeasty mixture into the food processor along with the three eggs and run the processor just until you have a sticky, uniform dough. Transfer the dough to a large bowl, cover it lightly with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. The next day, make the filling first. In a bowl, combine the walnuts, butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey and rose water. Stir it together thoroughly to finish the easy and yummy filling! Set it aside. Then, pre-heat the oven to 325 F and line four sheet trays with silicone mats or parchment paper. Take out the dough from the refrigerator.
  3. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Take the first piece and lightly coat it in flour, then pat it out into a disc on a clean, well floured surface. Roll the disc out with a floured rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Using a 3.5 inch round cutter, cut out rounds from the dough. You should get about 9. Then gently form the scraps into a smooth disc and roll it out again to cut out another 3 discs.
  4. Add a scant tablespoon of filling on one half of each disc, then seal them by bringing the other half over and thoroughly crimping the edges together. Form pretty tine marks on the edges by pressing a fork along the edges of each pastry. Transfer the dozen pastries onto one of the prepared trays, and repeat the process with the other three quarters of dough.
  5. Once all 4 trays are full, bake them in two batches for 20 minutes each until they are puffy and golden. Take them out when they are done and sprinkle them generously with powdered sugar while they are still a little warm. Let them finish cooling on cooling racks before you seal them up in pretty tins. Have fun spreading the Holiday cheer!
Nutrition Facts
Lebanese Pastry
Amount Per Serving (2 pastries)
Calories 346 Calories from Fat 257
% Daily Value*
Fat 28.6g44%
Saturated Fat 13.1g82%
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 249mg11%
Potassium 117mg3%
Carbohydrates 19.7g7%
Fiber 1.2g5%
Sugar 13.8g15%
Protein 5.6g11%
Calcium 30mg3%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Lebanese pastry recipe is a sacred family recipe that means Christmas to me. They are tender and warmly spiced with gorgeous floral notes! #pastry #Lebanese #Lebanesepastry #dessert #jeanieandluluskitchen
Lebanese Pastry

26 thoughts on “Lebanese Pastry”

  1. 5 stars
    Yum. I have never made a Lebanese pastry… i actually dont know if I have ever had one even but it sounds so delicious with the walnuts, cinnamon and honey.

  2. Wow, these look absolutely divine! I don’t have the biggest sweet tooth, but I’m such a sucker for pastries! I love that you asked permission to share it. 🙂 I think recipes can be such a special part of a family tradition, but I’m so happy you got the green light to share it with us!!

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