First Attempt: Şekerpare (Turkish Pastry)

Good morning!

Seeing how I have been living in Turkey for over three years now, I figured it was time I tested my baking capacities with a Turkish recipe. Once again my baking was left for the evening, but this time I bought the ingredients beforehand. For example, I have never used semolina (a “coarsely ground grain made from wheat“) before, so I made sure to buy some.

When deciding on which pastry to try out yesterday, as Turkey has a plethora to choose from, I landed on şekerpare. This is my favorite Turkish pastry at the moment! It’s covered in syrup, so it’s definitely high in sugar; I advise you not to bake this if you prefer mildly sweet desserts. Also, although I’m years behind from being an expert in baking, I do have to point out that this pastry is not for complete novices, unless you’ll be guided.

Finding a recipe turned out to be quite difficult, as some had major differences between each other, so I had no clue which one was more suitable or accurate. Nevertheless, due to the simplicity, I tested this recipe from Give Recipe out. Besides, they look great in her photos, don’t you think?

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  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 125 gr. butter
  • 1/2 cup semolina
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Topping

  • Coconut sprinkles/hazelnuts/almonds/crumbled pistachio

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The syrup only requires 3 ingredients – sugar, water, and lemon juice. It’s the first thing you need to prepare, as it will have to cool down. Simply mix the sugar with the water until it’s boiling and then add in the lemon juice and stir for another 5 minutes.

 

  1. Mix the sugar with the egg and a pinch of salt. You can use a whisk for this step, like I did.
  2. Add in the butter and mix; here I switched to a mixer.
  3. Finish off by adding the flour, yogurt, baking powder, and semolina. The outcome is dough, so you’ll need to knead it until it’s no longer sticky and it’s unified. Due to this, I switched the mixer beaters to spiral dough hooks, as they help with the kneading. (I had to Google these names, I had no idea what they were called :D)

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Once you feel your dough is ready, pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius and start making small balls and placing them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
If you plan on placing almonds or hazelnuts on top, do so before baking. I made most of mine with hazelnuts but kept a few without, so as to add coconut sprinkles instead.One tip when placing the hazelnuts is to press really hard, because as the pastries bake they’ll rise, which will make the nuts protrude. As you can tell from my photos, that’s what happened to mine, haha.
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In total this makes almost 30 pieces! It takes approximately 25 minutes to bake, so it’s fairly quick. Once they’re out of the oven, cover them with your syrup and any additional toppings (such as coconut sprinkles), and let them absorb it for a while. The author of the original recipe mentions leaving them to soak up to 4 hours, but at this rate it was 10 pm, so I let them soak for about 15-30 minutes before I let my friends in my dorm try them. (I will, however, admit that they taste better this morning, now that they’ve truly absorbed the syrup.)
As my first attempt, I can claim I’m happy with my result. Besides, among the people that tried, two were Turkish and both confirmed the pastries tasted nice, so I am satisfied 😀 I will point out that my şekerpare turned out rather light, although they’re usually quite golden/brown. I’m not sure whether I should’ve kept them in the oven longer or if it’s because this is the expected result from this recipe. Either way, I suppose it suffices as a first attempt – what do you think?
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Can you tell I took this photo in the morning? 😀
I do look forward to trying our different recipes for şekerpare, so if you somehow have one, please let me know! Otherwise, tweet me or tag me on Instagram if you try this recipe out 🙂
Until next time,
– Zi
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