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Nadiya Hussain’s Filo Cream Parcels

A tasty recipe from BBC2's Nadiya Bakes, this is Nadiya Hussain's take on znoud el sit - a classic Lebanese sweet treat of sweet cream encased in crisp filo pastry and soaked in tangy saffron syrup.

From the book

Nadiya Hussain


This is my version of a Lebanese dessert. Filo pastry is filled with a reduced cream thickened with ground rice and then sweetened and flavoured with zingy orange zest. I bake these until they are super crisp to balance out that soft filling. While hot, I drench them in a tangy saffron syrup.

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For the cream:
1.2 litres double cream
120g ground rice or rice flour
100g caster sugar
1 orange, zest only (save the juice for the syrup)
For the filo casing:
270g pack of filo pastry
100g ghee or butter, melted
For the syrup:
200g caster sugar
juice of 1 orange, adding extra water to make up to 200ml
1 tsp orange blossom water
3 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
A small pinch of saffron strands
For decoration:
50g pistachios, finely chopped


Prep time: 30 minutes, plus cooling and soaking. Cook time: 40 minutes.

Add the cream to a fairly deep saucepan on a high heat. As soon as it comes to the boil, turn down to a medium heat and keep stirring for about 10 minutes until it has reduced and thickened to make it richer.

Lower the heat, pour in your ground rice and whisk for 2–3 minutes until it really begins to thicken up. As soon as it starts to thicken and come away from the sides, take off the heat, add the sugar and orange zest and mix through. Pour onto a flat plate, smooth out and leave to cool as much as possible.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6 and have two large baking trays with sides at the ready.

Cut the pile of rectangular filo sheets down the middle into 14 squares. Lay them out and dollop an equal amount of the cooled cream mixture into the centre of each (if you want to be exact, it’s about 85g each).

Take a square, fold one side over, then the next, then the next and then the next, working your way round until you have encased the mound into a neat square, roughly 7cm. Repeat with the remaining squares.

Generously brush the base of the trays with the ghee, add the squares seam-side down and brush the tops with more ghee. Pop into the oven for 15–20 minutes to really crisp up the pastry.

Meanwhile, make the syrup by mixing the sugar, orange juice and water, orange blossom water, cardamom and saffron in a small pan. Give it a stir and, as soon as it comes to the boil, reduce the heat to low and leave for 10 minutes to thicken slightly.

As soon as the pastries are cooked and golden, pop them onto a serving dish and pour the syrup all over to soak into the filo. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.

These can be eaten as they are or are also delicious served chilled, which lets them firm up a little. Sprinkle on a tiny bit of pistachio just before serving.

Best eaten on the day they are made but will keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

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From the book: Nadiya Bakes

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