Algerian pastry

Rich, crunchy, nutty,honey-soaked, charming  , and beautifully  shaped…….this is  how I would describe the  Algerian pastry……..

Algerians take cookie baking very seriously , they’re always in constant search for new ideas to diversify the design of their traditional pastries , sparing , hence,  no effort or material to create new decadant delights . To my despair , every time I go back to Algeria , I find that the level of cookie is being  raised to a whole new level of sophistication and feel so " left-behind" with the simple recipes I make for my  family!

So why this obssesion with cookies ?

simply because my fellowcountrymen  have a serious sweet tooth and no afternoon-tea in Algeria is possible  without a cookie. if you ever  get yourself invited to share a cup of coffee with an Algerian family, don’t expect to find savory tidbids but a wide range of of traditional homebaked goodies , displayed  in a round copper tray called siniya along side mint tea , turkish coffee or cafe’ au lait.
This post is an attempt  to categorize the different types of Algerian cookies, because even though people tend to give them the umbrella name of " patisserie orientale"  every North African or Middle- Eastern  country has its own range of cookies that  may necessarily not be shared with the neighbours…..

Honey-dipped cookies ( halawiyat  maasla  ):

this type of cookies is very  popular in Algeria like elsewhere in the south and east part of the middeteranean . Once baked or fried,  they are generally  dipped or soaked in honey    then garnished with grounds nuts or sesamy seeds . They include makroud, baklawa, ktayef , griwech , mhancha, samsa etc……in addition to a whole new range of modern cookies that have been created in the last decade .

 

Royal ice -coated cookies ( gateaux glaces):

Unlike the former gategory ,these  cookies are  almost typical to Algeria. Except for the Tunisian" mlebess" , you will not find ice-coated cookies elsewhere in the arabworld ….these conffections  which  are  often  almond or nut based are first  baked then dipped in royal icing and left to dry before being beautifully  decorated . they include " mkhabaz, arayech, couronnes glacees etc…….


Ice sugar coated cookies:

this type of cookies are often  almond based, whether or not  coated with a thin layer of dough   , they are usually   baked for few minutes then   soaked in a syrup and finally  showered  with ice sugar, they include tcharek lemsaker  and the famous makroud elouz

No bake cookies ( gateaux sans cuisson :

There is  a large  selection  of cookies that fall into this category , either traditional one  like "rfiss" that uses typical local ingredients such    as semoulina, and dates or modern types   like" bniwen " which is a great way  to  recycle  those ramadan delicacies like  halwat halkoum ( turkish delight)  halwat  tourk ,  chocolate and  bisckuit crumbs . this category includes  rfiss, taminat louz, hrissa, kefta, bniwen to name a few   ……..

 

Petit Fours : These are the cookies that Algerians make on regular basis to accompagny  their afternoon treats. cheap ingredients such as  flour, egg  , butter and  oil,  are used  in contrust with the above categories that often call for the use of   expensive nuts. examples of these cookies include ghrayba, halwat tabaa, halwat lambout  , sables, croquant,and other  petits fours with different flavours etc…….

Big Thanks  for my friends , kouky ( clic), Naima ( clic) , Naouel ( clic) for kindly  allowing me to use their photos.

NB: My apologies for the photos who appear jumbled and not in the order I put them in my dashboard