Asabia el Aroos with Cardamom and Honey

Also called Bride’s Fingers, this is a Middle Eastern version of baklava. Bake in muffin tins for easy serving.

By / Photography By Maria Conover | April 29, 2017


For Syrup: Combine all ingredients except honey. Stirring occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved 5-8 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 220°. Stir in Honey and set aside.

For Baklava: Toast the nuts in a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat until just browned and fragrant. Let cool 3 to 4 minutes. Nuts should be slightly warm when you process them. Add toasted nuts, cinnamon, cardamom, brown sugar, salt, zest and honey to food processor. Blend until well combined and the nuts are ground but not a smooth paste. Set aside

Preheat oven to 325°. Brush each muffin tin with browned butter and set aside.

Place one sheet of phyllo on a flat work surface. Brush with browned butter. Working quickly lay another phyllo sheet on top. Cut down the middle and cross wise to get 6 strips. Place 2 strips criss cross in a muffin tin and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of nut mixture. Lay another strip on top and sprinkle with another teaspoon of nut mixture. Fold corners of phyllo into center of muffin tin. Continue to fill muffin tins until all phyllo is used. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Pour cooled Honey Orange Syrup over pastry; it will come about three-quarters of the way up the sides. Let sit until most of the liquid is absorbed and nuts are saturated, about 30 minutes

*To brown butter, in a small saucepan, cook over medium for 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure to scrape the brown bits from bottom and sides of the pan.



Puerto Rican Nochebuena

The pastel, a favored Puerto Rican dish, is a Christmas staple for Libna Lopez and her family. Here she passes on the knowledge of making this special dish.


Honey Orange Syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus zest from half a lemon
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice, plus 2 tablespoon zest
  • 10-15 cardamom pods
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, browned*
  • 1 cup toasted almonds
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 cup pistachios (fresh shelled are best)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon good salt
  • 1 package frozen sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • 2 cups Honey Orange Syrup, cooled
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