Zest of 1 small lemon
115 gr/ 4 oz. / ½ cup sugar
125 gr/ 4 ½ oz. unsalted butter
300 gr/ 10 ½ oz. /2 cups plain (all – purpose flour)
95 gr / 3 ¼ oz. / ½ cup fine grained semolina
15 ml/ 1 tbsp. baking powder
30 ml/ 2 tbsp. light olive oil (and a little extra to grease the baking tray)
20 blanched almonds or hazelnuts
Small bowl of cold water (to help shape the sekerpare cookies)
For the syrup:
Juice of 1 small lemon
345 gr/ 12 oz. /1 ½ cup sugar
480 ml/ 16 fl. oz. / 2 cups water
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ Gas mark 4
- First make the syrup. Grate the lemon zest into a bowl and set aside for the dough.
- Squeeze the lemon juice into a cup.
- Combine the 345 gr/ 12 oz. /1 ½ cup sugar and 480 ml/ 16 fl. oz. / 2 cups water in a heavy sauce pan over the medium heat and bring to the boil. Stir and let the sugar dissolve.
- Add the lemon juice, reduce the heat and simmer for a further 15 minutes for the syrup to thicken slightly. Turn the heat off and set the syrup aside to cool.
- Now, let’s make the dough. Gently melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat (or cut in small chunks and melt in microwave for 30 – 40 seconds, mixing half way).
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the semolina. Make a well in the middle and pour in the butter. Stir in the 2 eggs, 115 gr/ 4 oz./ ½ cup sugar, lemon zest, 2 tbsp. light olive oil and the baking powder.
- Knead for 5 minutes, until you achieve a soft, moist dough. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
- Have a small bowl of cold water nearby. Knead the dough again for 5 minutes. Then wet your hands lightly with cold water and divide the dough and shape into twenty ping pong sized balls.
- Grease a baking tray with a little of light olive oil (about 1 tbsp.) and place the sekerpare dough balls side by side, making sure you leave extra space between them to expand. Gently press down on top of each ball to flatten slightly.
- Push an almond or hazelnut in the center of each sekerpare ball.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until they start to turn light brown.
- Remove the sekerpare from the oven and pour cooled syrup over hot sekerpare cookies. Leave to cool and let the sekerpare cookies absorb the syrup for 15 minutes; they will get soft and tender.
- Serve cooled sekerpare with Turkish tea or coffee. You can keep sekerpare cookies covered in a container at room temperature for 2-3 days.