These pastries are a staple throughout the month of Ramadan and are most often served with the savoury soup 'Harira' (see under the 'soup' category). Two people are normally involved in preparing chbakiyyas -- one continually kneads the dough, while the other shapes, then fries the pastries.
Ingredients: 250 g plain flour
115 g sesame seeds, toasted, 55 g of the seeds finely ground
pinch of the salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon easy blend dried yeast
pinch of saffron filaments crushed and infused in 2 tablespoons orange flower water
1/2 free-range egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vinegar
40 g unsalted butter melted plus extra for greasing
vegetable oil for deep frying
FOR THE SYRUP
1 kg runny honey
4 small grains mastic (optional)
2 tablespoons orange flower water
Directions: 1. Put the flour into a bowl and add ground sesame seeds, salt , cinnamon and yeast. Pour in the saffron orange water, egg, vinegar and melted butter and work into the breadcrumbs with your fingers. Gradually add about 50-100 mL tepid water. Knead well for about 15 minutes.
2. Butter your working surface and rolling pin. Pinch of a piece of dough the size of a small orange and roll it out thinly (about 2 mm). Cut into strips about 10 cm in long and 2 cm in wide. Lift 3 strips and press the top ends together. Plait the strips loosely and press the bottom ends together. Shape loosely into a round and press the ends well together. Continue shaping the pastries until you finish half the dough.
3. Pour enough vegetable oil to deep-fry pastries into a large frying pan and place over high heat. Put the honey, mastic grains and orange flower water in a deep saucepan and set over a medium heat. When the honey starts bubbling turn the heat down to low.
4. When the oil reaches 160 degrees C, fry the pastries for 2 minutes on each side or until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop into the hot honey syrup. Leave for a few minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a platter. Sprinkle on both sides with toasted sesame seeds and leave to cool. While you are frying the first batch of pastries, your 'soul-chef ' should be shaping the rest of the dough into pastries.