Baqlaawe

2019-03-29T06:49:39Z (GMT) by Deb Wain

My mother spread out cashews, pistachios, and walnuts in a single layer on a baking tray. She told me it was important not to mound them up, important that they were toasted evenly. She picked through, looking for small broken pieces, especially of walnuts, and removed them so they wouldn’t burn. Small pieces of burnt walnuts could spoil the flavour of the whole baqlaawe because, once they were ground up, the flavour would go throughout the whole sticky dessert. The oven ticked as it heated up and would continue to tick for hours after it had been used as it cooled down again. While the nuts toasted in the oven, she cooked up water, sugar, and a little lemon juice. She held the temperamental ignitor down as the stovetop clicked into life with a whoomp of flame that settled into a more well-behaved, gentle burn on medium. The numbers around the dial were long ago cleaned off by an overly enthusiastic use of Jiff or Handy Andy.