Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Still I Think He's Rather Tasty

Disney Classic # 31 - Aladdin

Coming up with a dessert for Aladdin was an absolute nightmare!! I couldn't think of any images or themes from the movie to base the cake on, so I was relying on my favourite fallback idea of where the story takes place. But where does Aladdin take place? We all know Aladdin from the series of "Arabian Nights" stories, right? However - the story of Aladdin wasn't actually included in the original Arabian Nights, it was added in by the Frenchman who was translating the stories from Arabic into French. So where did Aladdin originate? Well, the internet tells me that the original story quite specifically takes place in China, and Aladdin is Chinese. However, Aladdin's China is mostly desert-land, the characters seem to practice Middle-Eastern culture rather than Chinese, and they follow the Muslim faith.

So, I found myself looking for an Arabic, French, Chinese, Middle-Eastern dessert recipe - that shouldn't be too difficult, right!?

Anyways, by sheer dumb luck I did manage to find a dessert. My friend Sarah very kindly bought my other half Alex a Turkish recipe book for Christmas and as I was sat flicking through it I came across a recipe called "Sultan's Turban" - HAHA! I've got it! Jasmine's daddy is the Sultan, and he wears a turban, as does Aladdin/Prince Ali when he's about to marry Jasmine (and thus become Sultan), so Sultan's Turbans fit wonderfully. (For those of you wondering - they are a nutty, cinnamon-y type of pastry dish)

Beats stale bread any day!

I found this recipe in the Love Food everyday Turkish recipe book, although I did mess with the quantities a bit! A couple of things to note about this recipe: The recipe in the book is in 5 steps, but I found it a bit confusing and had to re-read it a few times and carefully analyse the photo before I felt confident to give it a go. I decided in my version below to split the pastry-handling part into multiple very small steps, in hope that makes the process easier to understand! Secondly, the pastries in the book use a full pastry sheet per turban, I only used half (I didn't realise there were only 6 sheets in a packet until it was too late! haha!) so mine are a lot smaller than they are supposed to me. However, my friends and I decided that this was fine, as if they were twice the size they would have been much too big!

Prep time: 30 mins           Cook time: 45 mins       Serves: 10


150g granulated sugar
125ml water
1tbsp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
125g chopped walnuts
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 sheets filo pastry
175g unsalted butter

  1. Start by making the syrup: heat the sugar and the water in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice, cinnamon stick and cloves and boil without stirring for around 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain, discarding the cinnamon stick and the cloves. Place to one side for later.
  2. Whilst the syrup is boiling, prepare the filling. Place the walnuts, caster sugar and ground cinnamon into a blender a give them a quick blitz, until the walnuts are very finely chopped (but not pureed!!)  Place to one side.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat, removing from heat as soon as it has all melted. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  4. Slice the filo pastry sheets in half, so that you have almost square pieces.
  5. Place one sheet of filo pastry on the work surface, with the long edge (if there is one) towards you. Brush the filo sheet lightly with the melted butter.
  6. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of filling across the lower third of the pastry, making sure to leave a 3 cm margin at the bottom of the pastry, and 1 cm on either side.
  7. Fold the bottom edge of the pastry (the 3cm margin you left previously) over the filling, and place a piece of doweling or a skewer where the folded edge meets the rest of the pastry.
  8. Roll the pastry over the dowelling and seal the end with a little melted butter. (It took me a while to get me head around this step... you basically lift the part of the pastry containing the filling up and over the dowel, and then lift the part containing the dowel up and over the filling, until you use up all of the pastry sheet.)
  9. Crumple the pastry towards the centre of the dowel until it is almost half it's original length.
  10. Slide the dowel out of the pastry, then and seal the ends.
  11. Roll the now sausage like pastry into a flat coil, sealing the ends with a little butter, and place onto the greased baking sheet.
  12. Repeat the process with the remaining pastry.
  13. Bake the pastries (you may need to do this in batches) for 25-30 minutes, until crisp and golden.
  14. Pour the syrup over the pastries, and allow them to cool before serving.

Next time we're watching the Lion King, and I'll be handing over the ropes to my friend Mike! (Although I will still be making a small contribution...) We're working on the idea of "slimy, yet satisfying". ^_^

Happy Thoughts


  1. Maybe you could've made a cake that looks like a melon or a loaf of bread. That would be awesome. And you have inspired me to do this as well. I won't steal the same recipes from you though. I am like the biggest disney freak ever. Haha. I've even lost friends over my craze. But anyways, I just wanted to let you know that you have been an inspiration from one disney nut to another. :3 Thank you ubers.

    1. Thanks Steph! Making a cake to look like a loaf of bread would have been great - too bad I didn't think of that ;-)

      I'm really glad you like my blog, and LOVE that you've decided to give it a go for yourself. I'm not going to lie, at times it was trying, but I had so much fun doing it and I know you will too! And don't worry, I put the recipes out the to share them, so if you do borrow a couple of my ideas I really won't mind!

      I'd be interested to see how you get on and the wonderful cakes you bake for this - if you do end up posting pics online or starting up your own blog then please send me the link!

      Happy thoughts,