There is a large Armenian community living in Lebanon. The Armenians moved to Lebanon in the beginning of last century to escape persecution and massacres. I had several Armenian friends growing up in Beirut. There are neighborhoods in the city where Armenians tend to live and go about their daily lives, Armenian churches, Armenian schools and universities, Armenian restaurants, Armenian shops and artisans, Armenian political parties represented in parliament.
The Lebanese have grown quite fond of Armenian specialties such as the sujuk ( a type of sausage), the basterma (ditto) and my personal favorite, the lahmajun ( a type of meat and spices pizza).
This is a sweet bread roll made of pita bread dough, with the addition of tahini and sugar and cinnamon. It is delicious in the morning with a cup of coffee and something different to try that will faintly remind you of halvah, except much lighter. The use of cinnamon is optional here.
This recipe is adapted from Secrets of Cooking by Linda Chirinian, a cookbook that I have bought about twenty years ago and have cherished ever since.
INGREDIENTS: This quantity will yield about 18 rolls.
PITA BREAD Dough recipe: (see post)
1 1/4 cup tahini
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (can omit)
- Make pita bread dough. Let it rise 2 1/2 hours.
- Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cover 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into 3 parts. Roll each part into a 12 inch circle.
- Spread one third of tahini over the entire surface of each circle, then sprinkle with one third of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
- Roll up the circle jelly-roll style. If it sticks to the work surface, you can sprinkle more sugar on the roll.
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Using your hands in a forward and backward motion, stretch each piece gently to obtain a rope of 3 1/2 feet in length.
- Cut each rope in 6-inch pieces. Shape each piece into a pinwheel. Roll each pinwheel into a 4 inch disk with a rolling pin.
- Fill baking sheet with the disks and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes in the hot oven.
- Cool completely. Serve. (store in a tight container and can freeze for a couple of weeks)