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Lior Shtaygman so good #25

Safra with Muhallebi and pine nut and almond dacquoise by Lior Shtaygman

Safra with Muhallebi and pine nut and almond dacquoise by Lior Shtaygman

Lior Shtaygman, teacher and manager of the Baking department in Danon – Culinary Institute, located in the port of Tel-Aviv (Israel), is distinguished by his nature-inspired creations. For him, “cakes need to look as if they were grown or created in nature, as if they had developed in an evolutionary way like trees, forests, plants, and in geological forms like valleys and mountains”. Based on this premise, he always tries to make cakes that look like living objects. Something that he more than achieves with his Safra, one of the recipes he shares in so good # 25.

This original semolina cake from Libya takes Shtaygman back to his childhood when his grandmother made it once a year when Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar, is over. As he explains, “it’s a cake we break the fast with, and even though I am not religious and don’t fast, I always look forward to sneaking in and tasting it.”

The Safra is prepared by soaking it in sugar syrup that is mixed with orange blossom water or rose water. It has a characteristic yellow color due to the use of saffron, hence its name. “I also added anise seeds to the Safra; I very much love adding them to pastries,” he adds. In addition, it contains Muhallebi, a creamy milk dessert typical in Arab cuisine that is thickened with corn flour and has a soft, silky texture. On top of the Muhallebi layer, he added a dacquoise biscuit, inspired by French cuisine, which he prepared with pine nuts instead of hazelnuts, which are very popular in France.

“By combining ingredients from different countries, without geographical or political borders, I have created a new dish. I love using the round plate and the spiral shape of the dacquoise with the red rose petals on top. This provides the dish with a festive look that is very typical to the region ”.