Azerbaijani shekerbura recipe

Azerbaijani shekerbura recipe

Here is the recipe for shekerbura, which is one of the most loved desserts of Azerbaijani national sweets.

Shekerbura consists of 3 major elements: the dough, the filling and the pattern, and We’ll explain each element in details. Let's see!..

Necessary products:

Makes 36 shekerbura pastries

For the Dough:

1 kg / 2.2 pounds first grade wheat flour (white only) + 1 tablespoon (for step 3)
400 g / 14 oz unsalted butter, cut into large chunks
5 egg yolks
250 g / 9 oz sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder (optional)

1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup / 125 ml lukewarm milk

For the Filling:
700 g / 1.5 pounds skinned hazelnuts, or almonds or walnuts (See recipe for how to skin if readily skinned nuts are not available)
700 g / 1.5 pounds granulated sugar
2 teaspoon, or to taste, ground cardamom

You’ll also need: mixing bowls, baking sheets, and a maggash (tweezers)

How to prepare:

1. Prepare the dough. Put the flour and the butter in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, rub them together until you obtain fine crumbs. Make sure there are no large crumbs left. (Would you like to make this dish together? Join our Cooking Masterclasses to learn and taste the national cuisine of Azerbaijan!)

2. In a small bowl, using a spoon, mix the eggs yolks, sour cream, salt and vanilla powder.

3. In another small bowl, put the yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon sugar. Fill it with 1/4 cup of lukewarm milk. Let stand for about 2 minutes.

4. Add the egg-sour cream mixture , the yeast mixture , to the flour-butter mixture.

5. Using your hands, mix the ingredients until fully incorporated and a rough and inconsistent dough is obtained. Transfer the dough to your work surface. Put the remaining 1/4 cup of lukewarm milk in a separate bowl. Constantly wetting your hands with milk, knead the dough for a few minutes to make it smooth.

6. Shape the dough into a ball. Put it back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave aside to rest for about 30 minutes.

7. In the meantime, prepare the filling. If you are using already skinned nuts, grind them finely in a food processor. In a mixing bowl, combing the ground nuts with sugar. Add the ground cardamom and vanilla powder. Mix until fully incorporated.

To skin hazelnuts and walnuts at home: Place raw hazelnuts in a large frying pan, and roast over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the skins crack and begin to flake off, about 10 minutes. Take care not to burn the nuts. Working with small batches of nuts at a time, place them them on a kitchen cloth and rub with it to remove the skins. Most of the skins will come off although some will still cling to the nut (especially on walnuts). Do not worry, a little skin will not be that visible in the filling.

To skin almonds at home: Put the almonds in a pot and pour boiling water over them to barely cover their tops. Let the almonds sit in the water for about 2 minutes (do not keep them there for too long, or they will lose their crispiness and will be too soft). Drain off the water, pat dry the nuts and slip the skins off by squeezing the almonds between your thumb and fingers.

8. Divide the dough into 36 balls, each weighing 50 g.

9. Work with one ball at a time, and cover the rest. Roll each ball into a 4 inch (10 cm) circle.

10. Place the circle in the palm of your hand, slightly folded, and put 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center.

11. Starting at one end, begin sealing the left and right edges towards the center to obtain a half-moon shape. Sealed shekerbura must be somewhat chubby from the filling and never flat.

12. Using your thumb and index finger, start pinching and twisting the dough along the seal to decorate the edges.

13. Arrange the pastry on a baking sheet, lined with parchment (baking) paper. Continue working with the rest of the dough balls, arranging them on the baking sheet as you are finished decorating their edges.

14. Now decorate the tops. Holding a pastry in one hand, and a maggash (tweezers) in the other, pinch the dough with the maggash at an angle and slightly lift it upward (see the picture below). Continue until you obtain a row of pattern. Create similar rows, each at an angle to the next one, until the entire surface is decorated.

You finished pattern should look like in the photo below.

If maggash is not available, leave the top of shekerbura plain, without any patterns.

This is how shekerbura pastries look before they go in the oven.

15. Bake on the middle rack of the oven preheated to 175C (350F) for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges just begin to change their color and the bottom is light brown. Take care not to overbake the pastries – their tops should be light color when baked. If you did not decorate your pastries with the tweezers, coat them with powdered sugar once they cool off.

This is how baked shekerbura looks. Nush olsun! ( Bon Appetit! )