Tahini, nuts and dates shortcake

Ramadan in the Middle East is widely celebrated by social gatherings and cheerful feasts. During my stay in Iran I was invited to Iftar, the dinner culminating all day of fasting, at Shiva and Shayyan’s house in Teheran where Shiva’s sister Shayda taught me how to make traditional Iranian food.

For this I decided to prepare Polish mazurek cake, which is a very popular Easter dish. This time though, it was inspired by Iranian cuisine and topped with sesame paste pudding, roasted nuts, dried fruits and dark chocolate. Outcome: it disappeared  in blink of an eye!



Tahini, nuts and dates shortcake

Ingredients (30×30 tray)


160 g butter (at room temperature)

100 g sugar

2 egg yolks

250 g flour

pinch of salt


Tahini pudding

15 tbs tahini paste

2 1/2 cups full fat milk

4 tbsp corn flour

3 tbs cane sugar



1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup pistachios

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup chopped dried dates

1/4 cup mulberry or cranberry

1/4 cup dark chocolate, grated



  1. Preheat oven to 190 C.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, yolks and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour, salt and hand-knead the dough until it’s smooth and doesn’t stick to your hands.
  3. Form a ball. Cover with plastic bag and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Take out of the fridge, roll out (it should be about 1 cm thick) and transfer to the baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Roll the edges inward as in the photo below and create a pattern using a fork. Pinch the crust with your fork to prevent shortcrust from rising.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Cool down before combining with tahini pudding.

Tahini pudding (according to the New York Times pudding recipe)

1. Put 2 cups of milk, sugar and salt in a small or medium sauce pot over medium-low heat.Cook just until it begins to steam.

2. Combine cornstarch and remaining cold milk in bowl and blend; there should be no lumps. Add cornstarch mixture to hot milk; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to thicken and barely reaches a boil, about 5 minutes. Immediately reduce heat to very low and stir for 5 minutes or so until thick. Stir in tahini. Put aside to cool down before pouring on the cake.

3. Pour the pudding over shortcrust and top with roasted almonds, dates, mulberry and chocolate chunks.

4. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Cooking tips:

  1. Place another sheet of parchment paper on the top of your shortcrust and press with beans (or any other pulses) to prevent crust from rising.
  2. If your pudding has lumps blend it until smooth with hand mixer.



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