Bint Al-Sahn, meaning "daughter of the plate" in Arabic, is a delectable Yemeni honey cake that holds a special place in Yemeni cuisine and culture. This traditional dessert is known for its delicate layers of flaky pastry, generously drizzled with fragrant honey and sprinkled with aromatic spices. In this article, we will guide you through an authentic Bint Al-Sahn recipe, allowing you to experience the irresistible sweetness of this beloved Yemeni treat.
For the dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted ghee or clarified butter
1 cup warm water
For the honey syrup:
1 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon rose water (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
For garnish (optional):
Crushed almonds or pistachios
Step 1: Prepare the dough
In a mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, instant yeast, ground cardamom, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the melted ghee or clarified butter and warm water. Knead the mixture until a smooth and elastic dough forms. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let the dough rest in a warm place for about 1 to 2 hours, or until it doubles in size.
Step 2: Roll out the dough
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Divide the dough into small portions and roll each portion into a thin circle or oval shape. Brush each rolled dough with melted ghee or clarified butter, stacking them on top of each other.
Step 3: Bake the pastry
Place the stacked dough on a greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry turns golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
Step 4: Prepare the honey syrup
In a saucepan, combine the honey, water, lemon juice, rose water (if using), and ground cinnamon (if using). Heat the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 5: Assemble and serve
Once the pastry has cooled, break it into smaller pieces or cut it into diamond or square shapes. Arrange the pastry pieces on a serving platter and generously drizzle the honey syrup over them. Sprinkle crushed almonds or pistachios and a dusting of ground cinnamon for added flavor and visual appeal.
Optional: Personalize and enhance
Experiment with different fillings such as dates, nuts, or even a cream cheese filling to add variety to your Bint Al-Sahn. Decorate the top of the pastry with intricate designs using powdered sugar or create patterns with melted chocolate.
With this authentic Bint Al-Sahn recipe, you can indulge in the sweet delights of Yemeni cuisine and experience the rich cultural heritage of Yemen. Delight your taste buds with each flaky bite, as the fragrant honey syrup infuses the pastry with its irresistible sweetness. Bint Al-Sahn is a true celebration of the culinary traditions of Yemen, and sharing this treat with loved ones is a cherished Yemeni tradition that brings joy and togetherness.