Cream Pastry Rolls:
Spotting the Lights on the Lady’s Arms!
Now, this Cream Pastry is something to remember…. even before you taste it!
I was very young when my father relocated us, the family, to Lebanon. It took us time, of course, to learn the language. Yet, soon enough, these amusing nicknames started to pop up in our ears. Because we have many, I assure you. Some really fascinated us, like Znoud El-Sit and its meaning. Ah, but yes, we had to ask for every translation.
This one, in particular, would made me more pensive than amused. Somehow, our father would skip the explanation. Yet, the flicker in his blue eyes when saying “Let’s eat some Znoud El-Sit” intrigued me, so did the teasing twist of his mouth.
Well yes, my father had a legendary good humor. However, this one is a nationwide one!
Somewhere, somehow, some old-time pastry baker must have taken upon himself to bestow a flirty name on this culinary chef-d’oeuvre of his, as a tribute to the Lady of his heart; particularly her upper-arms!
Go figure it out then, saying, “Let’s eat some Upper-Arms of the Lady!” because this is exactly the name of this pastry. Not funny at all in any other country, but this is our Lebanon, a culture where praising nicknames could range from silly to extravagant. 🙂
In a more simpler and blunt explanation: The Ashta Cream Pastry rolls earned the name of Znoud El-Sit because of the shape, texture and look, somehow compared to the upper-arms of a certain local lady.
Cream Pastry Rolls: The Culinary Aspect
Znoud El-Sit is made of fine layers of buttered wheat-flour, resulting in a dough similar to the filo in texture.
That dough is wrapped around the Ashta Cream, in rolls, and fried to golden-brown crispiness. They are then soaked in sugar-syrup that has been flavored with rosewater and orange blossom water.
It is best to serve it hot to maintain its crispy texture.
When ordering your Znoud El-Sit, you will know if it is fresh by that warm yet crispy texture.
Today, there is an easier homemade version of this delicious pastry, and I am delighted to share it with you here!
Enjoy! And share it if you like it!
Lebanese Cream Pastry Rolls: Znoud El-Sit
- 25 Sheets Filo Pastry Dough (frozen) Follow the manufacturer's instructions to thaw it before starting
- 3/4 cup Corn Flour
- 1 tbsp Orange-Blossom Water
- 2 tbsps Pistachio Nuts
- 397 gr (1 can) Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 2 cups Vegetable oil for frying
- 3 cups Water
For the Syrup
- 2 cups White Sugar
- 1 tsp Rosewater
- 1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 cup Water
- 1 tsp Orange-Blossom Water
Start by Preparing the Filo Sheets
Cut the filo sheets in equal rectangles. The approximate size is 6"x 3". It could be a little less, but this is the standard I go for.
Once done, cover with a moist towel so they won't dry, and set them aside.
Making the Syrup
Boil water and sugar in a saucepan then leave it to simmer for about 6 minutes or until it condenses.
Turn off the heat, and stir in orange blossom water, rosewater and lemon juice.
Leave it aside to cool at room temperature.
Preparing the Ashta Cream
In a large saucepan, mix the corn flour with the condensed milk and the 3 cups of water. Stir non-stop while boiling, at medium heat, until it thickens.
When the mixture turns into a creamy texture, flavor it with the orange-blossom water, and blend well for all the cream to absorb the flavoring.
Remove it from the heat. and on the side to cool.
Preparing the Stuffed Rolls
Place 1 filo sheet, flattened on the counter horizontally. Top it vertically with another sheet in a cross shape. You should place it in sort that the center is a double-layer.
Stir the cream to smoothness. Scoop out a tablespoon's quantity, and place it, in length (horizontally), on the prepared double-layer filo sheets.
Fold the 2 horizontal extremities over both sides of the cream.
Roll it from one of the vertical sides, and wrap it all gently into a tight roll.
Repeat the same procedure for the remaining filo-sheets.
Deep-Frying the Rolls
Preheat the oil to 374°F (190°C). and deep fry the rolls.
Make sure you don't put them all together at once to leave some space in between.
You will know your rolls are done when they turn golden brown.
With a slotted cooking spoon, remove the rolls and into the prepared syrup for few seconds, then remove them into a strainer.
Leave them to drain the excess of syrup.
Serving: Better Hot or Warm
Drop gently a teaspoon of cream on top of each roll and sprinkle the with the Pistachio Nuts.
Option 2: optional, yet nice when receiving guests.
Dip both extremities of each in pistachios. As you do, place them in the serving plate, one after the other.
Drop gently a teaspoon of cream on the top side of each, and place a glazed rose jam on the cream.