Tahini roll (Tahinov Hatz)

November 7, 2009  •  Category: ,


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)

IMG_0609 _MG_0614 _MG_0616 _MG_0618_MG_0621 _MG_0626 _MG_0629 _MG_0630_MG_0632 _MG_6763


  1. Make pita bread dough. Let it rise 2 1/2 hours.
  2. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Cover 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Divide the dough  into 3 parts. Roll each part into a 12 inch circle.
  4. Spread one  third  of tahini over the entire surface of each circle, then sprinkle with one third of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  5. Roll up the circle jelly-roll style. If it sticks to the work surface, you can sprinkle more sugar on the roll.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  7. Using your hands in a forward and backward motion, stretch each piece gently to obtain a rope of 3 1/2 feet in length.
  8. 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.
  9. Fill baking sheet with the disks and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes in the hot oven.
  10. Cool completely. Serve. (store in a tight container and can freeze for a couple of weeks)


Sweet Rolls that Rock


36 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    That looks mighty scrumptious! I love sujuk, lamajun and tahini! Yummy!



  2. kano says:

    I haven’t come across these tahini rolls before. They looks delicious. Most give it a go.

  3. Sophie says:

    Wow! Ithe rolls look absolutely amazing!!

    Georgous treats!

  4. Alice Kezhaya says:

    This was delicious! I’ve never thought of combining the salty with the sweet, but I really really liked it. Make me more 🙂

  5. Joanne says:

    I would never have thought to put tahini in something sweet, but these look and sound delicious! I did not know that fact about the Armenians in Lebanon but I really enjoyed getting a little bit of history in with my daily dose of food blogging.

  6. Dana says:

    I havent come across these rolls with tahine, either. Sounds very interesting.

    Do you know of a place where I can get “authentic” sujuk and basterma? I have yet to find these true Armenian delicacies stateside. The ones I have tried at Lebanese restaurants were often lacking in flavor and style. The closest I got to the true thing was at Zaytinya’s in DC …


    • Joumana says:

      I have asked my friend Phoebe who is more up-to-date and she says that the one she buys at Sara Bakery in Richardson is excellent and it is halal. I am next going to hunt for a good recipe and try to make it at home! Phoebe says she used to make it in Houston and she claims it was really good. I am thinking of checking online too; you know Fresno in California has a huge Armenian community and I bet they sell the sujuk and basterma there online.

  7. Marion says:

    Ca a l’air vraiment très bon, surement un peu complexe à faire mais je suis très tentée!

  8. maninas says:

    I thought I left a comment here already, but maybe not. I just wanted to say I was intrigued by the combination of tahini and cinnamon. It sounds great!

  9. Ivy says:

    This looks delicious. It reminds me of Tahinopita (http://kopiaste.org/2007/11/tahinopita-a-cypriot-lenten-pie/) which we make in Cyprus. You should also try it with tahini and honey.

  10. Nadjibella says:

    Un mélange très intéressant et qui me plait beaucoup. J’en prends note .
    A bientôt.

  11. Arlette says:

    Marhaba Joumana

    These are very good warm and crunchy…. Its been a while since I did these treats…

    You know I used to make Soujok and Makanik in Lebanon, I cannot find Lamb Casing in North Bay…
    I have the Basterma Recipe… got it from our Armenian friend but never tried it yet… except the Shamaneh
    which I love.

  12. Arlette says:

    Hey Again…
    Sorry I forgot to say I love your introduction to the Armenian History…

    Yummy photos….Thanks for sharing the recipe

  13. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Wow, these flavours sound so divine. What a delicious sounding combination!

  14. Doria says:

    Ces roulés à la cannelle sont très gourmands !
    C’est une belle recette !
    Bonne soirée, Doria

  15. Dana says:

    Thank you for the input, Joumana. I will look up the Fresno community you mentioned and looking forward to reading on your basterma and sujuk adventures!


  16. Murasaki Shikibu says:

    This sounds delicious. Got to try and make it once my hands are rested from making two loafs of Brioche.

  17. ahavotre says:

    actually lahmajun is a levantine dish( of the leavnt= lebanon.palestine .syria,jordan)..the real name in arabic is “lahem ma ajeen” which means literally meat with dough..it was absorbed into the turkish and armenian cuisines and the original arabic was botched to lahmajun

    • Samuel says:

      It is in fact true that the word itself is of Arabic origin, however, food historians in the region have written of the existence of Lahmajoun in the Levant, though it was made quite differently (smaller in size and with a Tahini base). When the Armenians came to the region following the Genocide, they introduced their version of the ‘Lahmajoun’, as we know it today. What’s more interesting is why the Armenians used the Arabic word when they introduced their version of the dish. However, there is quite a simple explanation for this. Those who came to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, etc. did not have a strong command of the Armenian language as it was forbidden to be taught in some areas of the Ottoman Empire, so they would normally have themselves spoken Arabic or Turkish.

  18. ahavotre says:

    in my last post i meant to write “of the levant” …..not leavnt..

  19. Raffi says:

    Being an Armenian and stumbling upon this block, I felt great reading this post. As for lahmajun (lahm bi-ajeen), it is worth mentioning here that the Armenian lahmajun tastes differently, and the meat and dough are prepared in a different way (try to look for Ishkhanian place close to Hamra, which specializes in Armenian lahamajun).

    The Armenians have other excellent recipes and dishes (ich, dolma/sarma, su beureg,…). If you are already settled in Lebanon, you should visit 3 famous Armenian restaurants (Mayrig in Ashrafieh, Dzar in Jdeideh, Al-Mayyass in Mono). Also, Bourj-Hammoud is the Armenian center, where different shops exist and you can find Sujuk and Basterma markets. Also, High Food is a recently established market, which prepares and sells Armenian food. They also have a mission to help the Armenian schools and students financially.

    • Joumana says:

      I have been to Mayrig in Gemmayzé and was bowled over! In fact, I posted on the place last summer. I am planning to go back! Thanks so much fro your suggestions on the other places, which are on my list!

  20. Erin Grund says:

    Hi, I’m looking at the tahini cinnamon rolls, which look amazing, but I can’t find the post for the Pita Bread recipe. Can you send it to me or direct me to the posting? Thanks a lot! I can’t wait to try these!

  21. Hanneke says:

    Tried to make these myself from a book I have, and although they seem similar, mine look a bit different – they’re more like a sweet flatbread. Still, they were absolutely awesome, and I thought they looked quite authentic… If you like, please take a look at my sweet tahini swirls and tell me what you think?

  22. Heavenly Housewife says:

    This sounds absolutely amazing. I am going to bookmark these and try them for myself.
    *kisses* HH

  23. Medifast Coupons says:

    These look so beautiful, they must be delicious. Always a good recipe that is supplied, yet this one seems extra special. A perfect thing to accompany a morning coffee.

  24. Melissa Daams aka Cu says:

    These are new and different. I love ’em!
    I’m hosting a linky party over here: http://sweet-rolls-that-rock.blogspot.com/2011/03/sweet-rolls-o-rama-linky-party.html
    And I’d love it if you would link these up!

    Cheers, Melissa

  25. Sarah says:

    Mmm, I love Turkish/Armenian cuisine! Those rolls looks AMAZIGH!!!! 😮

  26. domi says:

    Ces brioches sont bien appétissantes et à l’aide des photos ” tahini dès ” du goût…

  27. Megan Moore says:

    I can’t seem to find the pita bread recipe.

Add a Comment