Qotab is an almond-filled, deep-fried Persian pastry. It's prepared with flour, almonds, icing sugar, vegetable oil and cardamom. Some versions of ghotab may contain other ingredients, since most of the best recipes are family secrets that are jealously guarded.
Ghotab is one of three types of sweets (shirini) that the Iranian city of Yazd is famous for producing. Yazd is an ancient city that was once a centre for Zoroastrianism and is now famous for its architecture (along with the shirini!). The confectioners of Yazd keep their recipes very secret and many have been passed down through several generations. Other shirini famous in Yazd are baghlava and pashmak.
2 large egg yolks, beaten - ½ cup plain yoghurt - ½ cup vegetable or canola oil - 1 teaspoon baking powder - 1½ cups all-purpose flour - 1 cup ground almonds or walnuts - ½ cup sugar - ¾ tablespoon ground cardamom - ¾ tablespoon rosewater - ½ cup icing sugar, for dusting - canola oil for deep frying
Beat egg yolks until creamy; add in yoghurt, oil and baking powder and mix well. Gradually mix in flour and knead well until dough stops being sticky. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.
Mix ground almonds or walnuts with the sugar and toast mixture in a skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes. Mix in cardamom and rosewater; mix well; set aside to cool.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 3 mm thickness. Cut into 6 - 7½ cm circles with a cup or a round biscuit cutter. Fill each circle with ½ teaspoon of the sugar-nut mixture in the centre of each circle. Bring the edges of the circle together and crimp to seal completely into small crescent shapes.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Carefully transfer the stuffed pastries onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. When cool, roll in icing sugar to coat.
Makes about 20 pieces
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