Damascus sesame biscuits recipe

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  • Yield: 24


  • ½ oz (15 g) fresh yeast or 8 g (¼ oz) dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 lb (450 g) plain flour
  • ¾ lb (350 g) caster sugar
  • 6 oz (175 g) butter
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachio nuts
  • 1½ oz (40 g) butter, melted
  • 6 oz (175 g) sesame seeds spread over a large plate
How to Make It
  1. Place the yeast and sugar in a small bowl with 150 ml (¼ pint) warm water, stir to dissolve and set aside in a warm place until it begins to froth. Meanwhile sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter cut into small pieces and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the chopped pistachio nuts. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly until you have a dough. Add a little more water if necessary. Remove to a work top and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is soft and pliable. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours.
  2. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work top and knead for 1-2 minutes. Divide it into 2 portions. Roll out one portion on the floured work top until about 3 mm (⅛in) thick. Cut out as many rounds as possible using a 10 cm (4 in) cutter. Repeat with the remaining portion of dough. Brush the surface of one biscuit with the melted butter and then place it, butter side down, on the sesame seeds. Shake off excess seeds and place on a greased baking tray. Repeat with remaining biscuits. Bake in an oven preheated to 160C (325F) gas 3 for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Remove and cool on racks. Store in an airtight tin when cold.

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