Persian or Iranian desserts are simple yet unique and delectable. Like faloodeh and soleh zard, most of them date back to ancient Persia and have been developed ever since. If you enjoy nuts and the aroma of rosewater, you would indeed find these Iranian desserts hard to resist. With saffron, rosewater, pistachios, and cardamom dominating almost every sweet preparation, they are enjoyable any time of the day or during special occasions like Nourouz or Persian New Year.
Gaz is a tasty Persian confection that is much similar to nougat. Its origin traces back to the city of Isfahan, where it was initially prepared with the sap of a local Angebin plant. The purity of the traditional sweet is judged by the amount of gaz in it. The more it is, the purer it becomes. Other ingredients going into it includes egg whites, sugar, nuts like pistachios and almonds, and made aromatic with rose water.
The chewy Persian goodies are sweet and nutty, having a subtle rose flavor. Served as small rectangular or log shapes, they usually appear white, but the color might vary with the inclusion of saffron or honey.
Zoolbia-Bamieh is a combination of two sweets that often concludes the Iftar meal during Ramadan. While zoolbia are spiral, crispy golden delights, bamieh are more like churros in appearance. Both are deep-fried and soaked in sweet rosewater syrup. When paired with a hot cup of Persian tea, the tasty duo provides an energizing and refreshing feel, much needed after a whole day of fasting.
A favorite confection, pashmak, is the Persian variant of candy floss. Made with sugar syrup, it is constantly pulled in a gentle way to form thin, delicate strands. Though its origin is in the city of Yazd, it is now quite popular all over Iran. Also referred to as angel’s hair in Parsi, these sweet treats are slightly sticky, melting quickly in the mouth. It leaves behind the taste of the added flavor, which ranges from nutty sesame or pistachio to sweet and aromatic rosewater or orange blossom.
Bastani sonnati is a classic Persian ice cream, different from the regular ones. It was introduced and popularized by Akbar Bastani in the 1920s, who prepared it with saffron, rose water, cream, and salep, a type of flour made from wild orchid tubers, responsible for the ice cream’s characteristic texture.
The beautiful yellow color it attains due to the infusion of saffron along with the unique combination of flavors make bastani sonnati an appealing and appetizing frozen delight. Apart from enjoying it plain from a bowl, it can be served by sandwiching the ice cream between two waffles. This is known as Bastani-e-Nooni served particularly on special occasions like Nourouz or Persian New Year.
Soleh Zard is a traditional aromatic and flavorful rice pudding dish enjoyed during special occasions and religious ceremonies. Its preparation includes cooking rice and infusing saffron, rose water, and cardamom. Toppings of sliced pistachios and silver almonds add a crunchy texture and nutty flavor. It is often An ancient Persian dish, soleh zard is not only enjoyed with friends and families but also distributed among the needy as charity food or Nazri.
An attractive jelly-like confection, masghati is typically enjoyed in the southern regions of Iran. A smooth and thick consistency is made by combining a starch mixture with butter, rose water, saffron, almonds, and sugar. The inclusion of starch allows it to solidify into a jelly-like formation with a semi-transparent appearance. Masghati is often served at parties or casual gatherings by slicing it into diamond shapes and pairing them with tea. The soft, sweet treat has a unique, pleasant taste that lingers long after being relished.
Qottab is an ancient crescent-shaped pastry delicacy dating back to the Achaemenid Empire. It consists of a wheat dough stuffed with walnuts or almonds and flavored with generous amounts of cinnamon and cardamom to make it sweet and spicy. It is deep-fried and served by sprinkling it with powdered sugar. Though popular mainly in Yazd, it is enjoyed all over the country during Nowruz.
Halva Ardeh is a typical dessert platter having sesame as its main component. Sesame paste or tahini is cooked with nuts like walnuts, pistachios, or almonds and mixed with sweet rosewater syrup. The preparation is kept aside to cool down and set. A classic sweet treat, halva ardeh is often served in pieces by garnishing with nuts or shredded coconuts. A slice of bread would make it a perfect accompaniment for breakfast to balance out the sweetness.
Noghl are tasty and crunchy sugar-coated almonds that are ideal to munch in the evening, accompanied by a cup of tea. Hot sugar syrup infused with rosewater is added to roasted almonds to form a sweet, white layer over them once cooled down. As a part of Iranian tradition, the toothsome white candy is often included as a part of dessert in wedding ceremonies to bring good luck and happiness.
Ranginak is a rich dessert having dates as its star component. Pitted dates are stuffed with walnuts which form the base layer. Toasted flour along with a combination of sugar, ground cinnamon, and cardamom are showered on top, adding crunchiness and a nutty flavor. It is further enriched by covering it with ground pistachios. A popular Ramadan dish in Iran, ranginak is usually consumed in small quantities enough to fulfill your sweet appetite.
A well-loved variant of faloodeh, faloodeh shirazi is a mouthwatering combination of rice noodles and rosewater syrup. Thin rice noodles, similar to vermicelli, are made soft by adding hot water. It is then drained and soaked in a frozen rosewater mixture and served chilled by squeezing lemon on it. A summertime delight, faloodeh shirazi is commonly available at every Persian ice cream parlor.
If you are a cookie lover, you would surely be addicted to koloocheh, a classic Persian baked delight. Though each Iranian region has its own style and method of preparing it, the authentic ones are made with flour, butter, sugar, and rosewater and stuffed with a combination of walnuts and dates. These circular-shaped cookies are sometimes stamped with beautiful designs on top to give it an attractive touch. Sweet, nutty, and filling, koloocheh are ideal for breakfast or as a midday snack.
Sohan, a sweet saffron brittle, is a famous confection of the holy city of Qom in north-central Iran. It is made with wheat sprout, eggs, butter, rosewater, sugar, butter, cardamom, and topped with pistachios. Rich and aromatic, sohan has crunchy and smooth layers irresistible to stop enjoying after the first bite.
Ghorabieh tabriz is an authentic almond cookie delicacy having its roots in Tabriz. Resembling a macaroon, it typically consists of ground almonds, flour, egg whites, and sugar. Sometimes, pistachios or almonds are sprinkled on top to enrich it and add a crunchy twist to the soft, chewy cookies.
Shirini Napoleoni is a delicious Iranian dessert, bearing close resemblance to the French mille-feuilles, whose name translates into a thousand leaves. Like its French counterpart, this Iranian dessert delight also has delicate layers of flaky pastry filled with smooth pastry cream. A topping of whipped cream is added to make it a sweet, creamy treat. It is served chilled with sprinklings of pistachio and crushed pastry flakes.
A signature dessert of Iran, baklava or baghlava, is famous all over the Middle East and a well-accepted delicacy worldwide. Flaky, crisp layers of pastry combined with crunchy, toasted nuts, aromatic and flavorful cardamom, rosewater, butter, and sweetened with honey syrup make it highly addictive. Enjoyed any time of the year, baklava is cut into diamond-like shapes before serving.
Kachi is a typical halva pudding containing toasted rice flour soaked in saffron or rosewater. Served warm with toppings of pistachios and sesame seeds, kachi is delicious and nourishing, often given to new mothers and weak individuals for regaining energy.
The diverse flavors and textures of Persian desserts make them a favorite among sweet lovers. You could have them after enjoying a traditional Iranian dish or enjoy them over a cup of tea.
Best Iranian Holiday Desserts: Bastani Sonnati, Zoolbia-Bamieh, Ranginak
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