Layered date galettes

This 13th-century recipe was a speciality of the region around Constantine (Algeria), and was associated with the Kutamiyya Berber tribe. It is known in Arabic as al-murakkaba (المُرَكَّبة, ‘the compound one’) because it involves layers of flat loaves (or galettes) made with semolina dough and eggs, alternating with layers of date paste. After completing the stack with however much dough you have made, pour over honey and clarified butter (ghee). Dust with cinnamon before serving. [Andalusian, fol. 65.r.]    

Candied citron

The recipe for this delightful sweet can be found in 13th- and 15th-century cookery books. Citron is fried in sesame oil and then smothered in honey and rosewater syrup before adding aromatics like saffron, agarwood, and musk. It is served sprinkled with sugar. [Ibn Mubārak Shāh, fol. 22v.]

Maqrud (مَقْرُوض)

This is the 13th-century ancestor of a modern North African favourite, which still bears the same name, even if the result is somewhat different. These sweetmeats are made with semolina dough, stuffed with sugar and almonds, or dates, and then deep-fried in oil until golden and crispy. Sprinkle on sugar before serving. [al-Tujībī, 2012, p. 79]

Frying the maqrud

Candy cornucopia

This festive candy platter combines recreations of a number of 13th-century Egyptian delicacies: candy fingers, tamarind candy, almonds in honey (مَكْشُوفة, makshufa), as well as the mysterious ‘ill lady’ (sitt danif) and her pistachios in rose-water syrup and musk.

Zulabiyya (زُلابِيَّة) honey fritters

The mediaeval ancestor to a much-loved present-day sweet, which still bears the same name. The fritters are made by deep-frying dough in a number of different shapes, which are then drenched in honey. You can also vary the colours by adding, for instance, saffron or fennel to turn them yellow or green, respectively. Recipes for these fritters are found in a number of treatises from both the western and eastern Islamic empire, but the recreation is based on instructions from a 13th-century Andalusian one. [Andalusian, fol. 69v.]