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Guba tikhmasi | Guba-style sweet pastries

Guba tikhmasi - Guba-style sweet pastries
Tikhma are a sweet version of the popular shor gogal savoury pastries.

Like shor gogal, tikhma (tıxma) are usually eaten at the Novruz spring holiday, but are popular all year round too. As with pastry the world over, Azerbaijan has many variations of its pastry recipes. We give here a slightly different recipe for pastry than the one given for shor gogal. This recipe is taken from Gullu Cahangir’s informative website Azerifood.com. News.Az is grateful to her for permission to use her recipe and photograph.

Preparation time: 90 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Serves: 5-6


  • For the pastry:
  • 1 kg/2 lbs 2 oz flour (it’s best to use slightly less flour and add more to the dough if required)
  • 25 g/1 oz yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbspn sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 500 ml/17 fl oz warm water
  • 200 g/8 oz margarine or butter (margarine is fine for this pastry)
  • For the filling:
  • 250 g/10 oz flour
  • 2/3 tbspn of caster or fine sugar
  • 150 g/3 oz clarified butter
  • 1 tspn cardamom
  • a few threads of saffron
  • egg yolk and poppy or sesame seeds for the glaze


  • Put the threads of saffron into a cup and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse.
  • Warm the water to room temperature. Dissolve the yeast in the water.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, a pinch of salt and around 13 tablespoons of flour. Mix to form a dough that is neither liquid nor very hard.
  • Cover with a teacloth and set aside to rise.
  • Melt the butter and cool to room temperature.
  • When the dough has risen to 3 to 4 times its original size, put the rest of the flour
  • in a bowl and make a hole in the middle. Pour in the leavened dough, then the egg and butter. It’s better to use too little flour and add more later, than to use too much at the beginning. Knead into a soft dough.
  • Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour so that the dough rises again. Knead at least twice more while the dough is rising. The more you knead the dough, the better.
  • To make the filling, cream the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes. Add the cardamom, saffron infusion and flour and mix well. The mixture should be crumbly.
  • Take the risen dough and separate into 5 or 6 balls, one for each layer.
  • Roll out the first ball until the pastry is very thin, 0.5 mm/0.02 inch thick.
  • Spread the first layer with soft butter.
  • Roll out the second ball of pastry. Place the rolled out pastry on top of the first layer and brush with softened butter. Repeat until all the layers have been used. Don’t add butter to the top layer.
  • Cut the layers of pastry into ribbons, roughly 2.5 cm/1 inch wide. Cut each ribbon into pieces some 5 cm/2 inches long.
  • Now for the tricky part – take a piece of pastry, roll into a mini swiss roll shape, take each end of the roll and twist like a sweet wrapper. Press the twist of pastry down into a round shape.
  • To stuff each tikhma make a hole in the middle of the roll with your thumb and form a pocket for the filling. Put a spoon of filling into the pocket and close the dough over the hole. Turn the tikhma upside down and place on a firm surface. Push down carefully to flatten the tikhma but not too much. Set aside and cover with food film. Continue until all the rolls are done.
  • Place the tikhma onto a well greased baking tray. Brush the top of each tikhma with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 25-30 minutes until the tikhma are golden or golden brown.

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