Last month, we arrived in Istanbul slap bang in the middle of the holy month of Ramadan and, one evening, our friends invited us to help with the preparations for an iftar dinner for 40 people. On the menu was a spinach and yoghurt soup dressed with caramelised onions and mint-infused butter, spiced veal and a smoked bulgar wheat pilaf with peppers, aubergines and almonds; the meal was finished off with Ramazan pidesi (a traditional soft leavened bread with a patterned crust topped with sesame and nigella seeds), cheese and fresh cherries for dipping into a tahini and carob molasses spread. The latter was a bit of a revelation to me because I naturally shun the sweet stuff but this has a nutty savoury edge to it that I loved. I’ve since discovered that this is a combo enjoyed all around the eastern Mediterranean countries (and across the Middle East) where it is much beloved by children and revered by adults who fondly remember being given it on fresh bread when they returned home from school. This is a really great way of getting an energising sweet hit without the guilt because of the natural nutritional properties of the two ingredients.
2 tbsp of light tahini
1-2 tbsp carob molasses (or grape molasses for a less chocolatey flavour)
How I make it
Add 1 tbsp of carob molasses to the tahini, mix together and taste. If you want it to be a bit sweeter, add more molasses.
According to my friend Gamze, the proportion should be one quarter molasses to three quarters of tahini and never more than half and half.
This is gorgeous with my freshly baked Lebanese holy bread with orange blossom water and rosewater.