Shredded Phyllo dough and pistachio cookies (taaj al-malek)

March 20, 2010  •  Category: ,



I decided it was high time I made these myself, instead of waiting to be in Beirut to enjoy them at a pastry shop or buying them at the middle-eastern grocer in a box,  wondering how many months they had been sitting in that box. These pastries are called king’s crown or taaj al-malek. I made them extra small  because I am wanting to only indulge a tiny bit.

The pastries are easy to make and can be made over several steps:

A. Prepare the crown  of  shredded wheat.

B. Prepare the clarified butter or use oil or both.

C. Prepare the syrup.

D. Assemble.

Time frame: If you divide it in steps, it will take 15 to 30 minutes for each step.


  • 1 box of frozen kataifi dough (this is the shredded wheat and this can be found in middle-eastern stores and some upscale American supermarkets that carry exotic foods). Use half the quantity and make another recipe with the rest.
  • 1 cup of clarified butter or a mixture of butter and canola or other vegetable oil or oil.
  • 1 pound of pistachios already shelled (for this it is best to try a middle-eastern store, as they will carry the nuts shelled in a sealed bag)
  • 1 cup of syrup made with 2 cups of sugar, a squeeze of lemon juice, orange blossom water and rose water.



  1. Take the kadaifi dough out of the wrapper and untangle it a bit. Place small mounds of it in mini-muffin cups or regular muffin cups. Repeat the operation in another pan until you have used the quantity you desire. Now place each pan on top of the other and place a heavy pan on top in order to keep the pans tightly sealed. Place the pans in a cupboard or turned off oven for one day or two, in order to dry out the shells as much as possible.


  1. The day before (if you like to prepare things in advance) melt 4 sticks of butter slowly on the stove. When the butter is melted, collect the clear liquid in a measuring bowl and let the milky residue stay in the pot. Can be used right away or a few days or a month later. You can also use half the quantity of butter and mix half with some canola oil (or other oil, just not olive oil!)


  1. The syrup can be prepared up to two weeks or longer ahead. Simply place 2 cups of sugar and one cup of water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring it to a boil and then add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice ( about 1/2 tablespoon); when it has simmered for about 10 minutes and started to thicken slightly, add the orange blossom and rose water, about one teaspoon of each. At this point the syrup should be thick but not too thick.


  1. After drying out for a day or more the pastries are now ready to be baked; first, make sure the clarified butter or oil is liquid and warm and douse each pastry with it generously; place in a preheated 375F oven for about 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden-brown throughout. Remove from the oven and cool.
  2. Place the pastries on paper towels to blot out the excess oil or butter.
  3. Heat the syrup and bring to a simmer; add the pistachios and cook for a few minutes, making sure you don’t get the syrup to change color or it will cook too much. Remove from the heat and with a spoon, dole out some syrupy pistachios on each  cookie. Cool the cookies and serve.

NOTE: you can replace the pistachios with some other nuts. The syrup should be thick enough that it will hold the nuts together but not so think that it will harden. Cooking time for the syrup  should not exceed 12 minutes or so. If you cooked the syrup too long, and it is too hard, add some water and simmer a bit to make it lighter.

The best shape for these cookies is a strong base and a thinner wall all around; aim for this as it will help hold the pistachios once you plop them on the cookie, dripping in syrup.

NOTE: These are also called sparrow’s nest or esh al-bulbul


66 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Kim says:

    I am crazy about pistachio nuts and I think this recipe looks remarkably delicious! What a unique and fun recipe.

  2. kim says:

    Ooo…like a kadaif. Yummy!

  3. anncoo says:

    Looks so fabulous! Love pistachio nuts and you made this looks so classic.

  4. souska says:

    Very nice hummmmmmmmmm

  5. The Little Teochew says:

    Oooh, just so pretty! Like little nests, no? I’m like you … I like to indulge, but just a little bit. Beautiful!

  6. Arlette says:

    These are one of my favourites , the Bourma and Taj Al Malek .
    Awesome photos my freind I like the bite serving… I bought a silicon
    molds to bake these treats.

  7. Azita says:

    Happy Nowruz!
    I love pistachio nuts and these look amazing and so tasty! thanks.

  8. Astra Libris says:

    Ohhh, so beautiful! Your photos are gorgeous, and I love and greatly appreciate the step-by-step photos along with the recipe – thank you! I’m excited about working with the shredded wheat dough for the first time!

  9. Sushma Mallya says:

    Looks like a lot of work but worth doing it….done it so beautifully and to perfection…very nice one,enjoyed just by looking at it only..

  10. MaryMoh says:

    Looks utterly beautiful and delicious!!

  11. Océane says:

    merci d’être passé sur mon blog, ce qui me permet de découvrir le tien avec ces jolies choses

  12. Angie@Angie's Recipes says:

    How unique! I bet they taste heavenly with that pile of pistachios~!

  13. T.W. Barritt says:

    What beautiful results – and you make it look quite easy with the step-by-step instructions.

  14. Maninas says:

    They’re so beautiful! Indeed they have a fitting name!
    The step-by-step photo instructions are great.

  15. Simply Life says:

    oh these are ADORABLE! Where do you come up with all these great ideas?!?!

  16. Marion says:

    Wahou, c’est joli comme tout dans ces petites corbeilles! Et puis avec les pistaches, j’adore…

  17. Dimah says:

    Those look scrumptious!

  18. Nadjibella says:

    Tout simplement MAGNIFIQUE.
    J’avais lu dans un autre blog que tu avais publié la recette de la Achté mais je n’arrive pas à la trouver ( crème blanche qui sert à fourrer plein de gâteaux orientaux).
    A bientôt.

  19. Joanne says:

    Things taste better in mini-version anyway. Love the pistachios! They are my favorite nut to have in desserts.

  20. crazynonna says:

    so magnifique!!miammm!a tester tres vite…

  21. Nicole @ MGC says:

    You make such intricate foods. This dessert looks amazing, I also love things that are mini. You can enjoy more then! You are really talented and your pictures show off your food incredibly.

  22. Priya says:

    Woww such a cute cookies, looks marvellous!!

  23. Doria says:

    Ils sont supers mignons ces petits paniers !
    Très bon dimanche,
    Bisous, Doria

  24. Choosy Beggar Tina says:

    Those look delicious!! Whenever my father would bring home mixed baklava my favorites were always “the bird nest cookies”. Something about the texture of syrupy katafi and buttery nuts. Yum!

  25. Ivy says:

    Yum, these sound delicious.

  26. Natashya says:

    They are so cute! Related to baklava?

  27. Rachana Kothari says:

    These look so gorgeous and I love pistachios:) What a lovely recipe!

  28. Faith says:

    These pastries are gorgeous! I love these but I’ve never thought of making them myself…thanks for the inspiration! (My hubby will be happy! 🙂 )

  29. Wizzythestick says:

    These are most unusual. I will have to come up with a substitute for the kadaifi dough so that I can make these dainty little morsels

  30. sophia says:

    These are FANTASTIC!! Oh wow….did you know pistachio is just one of my favorite nuts ever? I don’t eat them much because they are expensive, but I really LOVE them in all forms. And these “cookies”…almost like a little bird nest! With pistachios for eggs….so adorable!

  31. sabah says:

    Elles sont magnifiques, je suis comme toi, j’aime le défi, si j’ai envie de manger qlq chose, je n’attends pas pour aller au Maroc, je le fais moi meme.

  32. cuisineplurielle says:

    très jolie comme présentation et appétissant

  33. Recipe man says:

    this looks so tasty and full of color. i love this thanks!

  34. Viviane, Taste-Buds says:

    I love those! I ate some yesterday or maybe I should say indulged! I still think that the ones my pupils mom gets from Syria are the best I ever had, never tried home made though, the ones you have here look great!

  35. Viviane, Taste-Buds says:

    P.S. I love the new look of the site, at least it is new to me, I have been away for a while, I know that!

  36. tigerfish says:

    They looks so pretty!

  37. HistoryOf GreekFood says:

    Sparrow’s nest? How poetic, Joumana!

  38. Julie says:

    Ils sont très mignons en mini-version, ça donne envie de croquer dedans !
    Bonne semaine, bisous!

  39. Trix says:

    Happy Norwuz! All of your dishes look beautiful (as always), so happy to have a chance to check in and have a look. I will be going to a Lebanese restaurant in Vienna later this week. I wonder if the food will be as good as yours? I hope so!!

  40. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella says:

    Oooh I’ve tried these from a store and they were really good! Now I have the recipe (where I never thought I’d be able to make these) 😛

  41. peter says:

    A gorgeous treat and I’m all for the pistachios too! You confused me with the shredded wheat title though. Kataifi behaves much differently than shredded wheat in the kitchen.

  42. Barbara Bakes says:

    What a perfect little treat for Spring! Are they ever filled with fruit?

  43. Michelle says:

    What a unique and pretty sweet treat! My Dad would have loved these cookies!

  44. aurelie says:

    je suis une grande fan de pâtisserie orientale …
    les photos sont sublimes
    Bises Aurelie

  45. Becky says:

    Delicious! Makes me want to run to the kitchen and make them right now.

  46. rebecca says:

    beautiful love bakalwa this is right up my alley yummy

  47. Cocotte says:

    So cute ces petits paniers!

  48. Sarah Naveen says:

    That looks fabulously yummy!!

  49. lisa says:

    I love pistachios, they are my favorite nut. The color, the taste– I love everything about them. This is a fantastic recipe–what a great little sweet dessert.

  50. Asia Jo says:

    Darling – I love your blog and this post is absolutely amazing … great photos, fantastic instructions, and a wonderful pastry 🙂 My house renovation is finally over and Now I can start exploring your fabulous recipes! xxx

  51. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Happy Nowruz to you! These cookies are so unique and sound delightful! I would love to try!

  52. Nick says:

    The past 3 months of vigorous weight training and cardio has now been rendered useless. Fantastic.

  53. Pj says:

    very unique.. i loved all your lebanese-inspired recipes. your blog has inspired me now to cook some labanese food! these pastries look delicious with the shredded wheat crowns.

  54. sweetlife says:

    How beautiful…I love pistachios these are so cute- my girls would love them!!


  55. Mimi says:

    These look incredible! You make the process look so easy.

  56. Juliana says:

    Wow, absolutely lovely “crowns”…love the combination of the wheat and pistachio…I can only imagine the taste…what a torture to look at them and not be able to reach 😉

  57. Erica says:

    I love pistachos! These look interesting, beautiful a delicious! Great dessert.

  58. A Canadian Foodie says:

    My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my husband thanks you,my daughter thanks you…. I have been looking for a recipe for these that looks like I can actually make it forever… and I trust your site and your cooking prowess… so now, onto making these… for mom’s 80th birthday! YUM

  59. A Canadian Foodie says:

    PS = how long do they keep?

  60. Aysegul - nysdelight says:

    So Simple and Sooo Simplyyy delicious!!! Yummy! What a smart idea too! I LOVE sherred fillo!

  61. Magic of Spice says:

    I just have to say WOW! I really love this!

  62. Rürup Rente Vergleich says:

    I really like your blog and i really appreciate the excellent quality content you are posting here for free for your online readers. thanks peace claudia.

  63. Lillian Al-Hawamdeh says:

    I did it! It was so easy and delicious! Thank you so much! 🙂

  64. Daisy says:

    I made these yummy treats today. Made too many. Can they be frozen?

Add a Comment