(almond sweets made to look like white mulberries)

My mother was the most generous, hospitable hostess I knew, and her repertoire of complicated dishes and baking seemed never-ending. But amidst her showy desserts and fanciful entrees, she loved to serve miniature-sized treats that were elegant and refined in their taste and presentation. She made these no-bake, delicately perfumed almond sweets every Norooz for that reason, and to this day I love how they are made to look like fresh white mulberries (imagine a cream-coloured blackberry). Persians drink a lot of cardamom-flavoured tea, and it’s customary to take your tea black and with a small hit of something sweet, such as saffron candy, dates, dried mulberries, or a sugar cube. For me, this is the perfect, not-too-sweet treat to take with afternoon tea. Noosh e-jan!

Adapted from New Food for Life Persian Cookbook by Najmieh Batmangheli.

  • 1½-2½ c ground almonds
  • 1 t ground cardamom
  • 1 c confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 T rose water *
  • 1 T orange-flower water *
  • 2 T slivered pistachios
  • granular sugar for coating

Mix 1½ c ground almonds, cardamom, and confectioners sugar in a mixing bowl. Slowly blend in the rose water and orange-flower water, stirring constantly to make a soft dough. Add more ground almonds if necessary so that the dough does not stick to your hands.

Take a heaping teaspoonful of dough and form into 1-inch cone-shaped white mulberries. Roll each in sugar to coat and insert a sliver of pistachio as the stem of the mulberry.

Arrange on a serving platter and cover tightly with plastic wrap to keep from drying. Store in an airtight container.

* Find rose and orange-flower water, pomegranate molasses and basmati rice at middle-eastern specialty food shops like Omonia Foods, King of Dates, and the Italian Centre Shops.