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Recipe of the week: tahini, za’atar and sesame seed biscuits

They’re almost like cookies, as they’re quite brittle, and they’re delicious with a glass of mint tea

This recipe came about when a cake we were trying had tahini added to the sugar instead of honey, says Dee Rettali. The accident inspired me to create these biscuits – which are now a firm favourite at the bakery. They’re almost like cookies, as they’re quite brittle, and they’re delicious with a glass of mint tea.

Makes 28 biscuits

Equipment: large baking tray, lined with baking parchment

Ingredients
  • 150g salted butter, at room temperature
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 120g tahini paste
  • 280g organic plain white flour
  • zest and juice of 1 organic unwaxed lemon
  • ½ tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp za’atar mix (see below)
  • 25g sesame seeds
  • 45g unrefined golden caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten, to glaze

for the za’atar mix (makes 1 small jar): 

  • 4 tbsp fresh or dried thyme
  • 4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 tsp ground sumac
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6.
  • In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar by hand until combined. Add the tahini paste – it might split a little, but do persevere – until everything comes together. Add the flour, lemon zest and juice, dried mint and za’atar mix and stir until the dough is smooth. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  • In the meantime, toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan for three minutes – keep the pan moving so the seeds don’t burn. Transfer the toasted seeds to a bowl and combine with the caster sugar.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and divide equally into 25g pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place on a lined baking tray. Gently flatten each ball with the back of a spoon. Brush each biscuit with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sesame seed and sugar mix. Chill for a further 20 minutes in the fridge.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, keeping a keen eye on the biscuits, as they have a tendency to crisp up vigorously around the edge. Leave the biscuits on the tray to cool.
  • When stored in an airtight container at room temperature, these biscuits will keep for seven days. If they start to soften, pop the biscuits back into a hot oven for six minutes.

To make the za’atar: place all the ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. When stored in an airtight jar in a cool place, this spice mix will last for eight weeks.

Baking with Fortitude

Baking with Fortitude

Dee Rettali is a co-founder of Fortitude Bakehouse in Soho, London. This recipe is taken from her book, Baking with Fortitude, published by Bloomsbury at £22. To buy from The Week Bookshop for £17.99, call 020-3176 3835 or visit theweekbookshop.co.uk.

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