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  • Jocette Lee

Cuma//joo mah: Recipe for Cezerye



Cezerye is similar to a date energy ball but in this version, carrot is the star of the show! This alternative form of Turkish delight is composed of caramelized carrots, shredded coconut, warm spices, and crunchy nuts and can be eaten as a dessert or a snack. Originating in the Mediterranean region of Turkey (specifically Adana and Mersin), cezerye is a unique treat packed with fiber and vitamins. In the Southern region of Turkey, there are three predominant people groups, Turks, Kurds, and Arabs and this dessert reflects Arab influence, where 'cezer' comes from the Arabic word for carrot. A relatively easy recipe to prepare at home, cezerye can be spread out on a tray and sliced into squares (pictured above) or rolled into bite-sized balls before covering with coconut. Afiyet Olsun or Bon Appétit!



Ingredients:

  • 6 large carrots, grated

  • 6 dates, pitted

  • 80 grams (1/3 cup) water

  • 60 grams, pistachio

  • 60 grams, walnut

  • 1/8 tsp, ground clove

  • 1/4 tsp, cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp, allspice

  • 1/4 tsp, dried turmeric

  • 1/4 tsp, dried ginger

  • 12 grams, (1/2 tbsp) honey

  • 1/2 tbsp, corn starch (mixed with a little cold water before adding)

  • 70 grams, (1 cup) desiccated coconut flakes, toasted


Quick Tips:

  • Continuously mix carrot puree as you are adding spices to prevent burning.

  • I used dates to bring sweetness but you can use 3/4 cup of white sugar instead.

  • If dates are not soft, soak in warm water for 10 minutes before use.

  • For the flavors to bloom, warm your spices on low heat for a minute before use.

  • Toast coconut flakes before coating the cezerye. Soemtimes I forget to do this but I highly recommend toasting for extra flavor and nuttiness.


How to prepare your Cezerye:

  1. Wash and peel carrots. Grate carrots with a box grater and add the shredded carrots to a pan, cook them over low heat with 1/3 cup water until carrots soften.

  2. Add softened carrots to a food processor, puree carrots, and add pitted dates to the food processor until smooth and fully incorporated.

  3. When ready, transfer your carrot puree into a small pot and slowly mix with a wooden spoon while the puree thickens.

  4. Add honey and spices.

  5. Continue to mix and cook until the excess water evaporates. To make sure the texture is right, you can add some corn starch. Don't stop mixing until you reach the desired texture which is spreadable but not too moist.

  6. Add your pistachios and walnuts and give it one last mix.

  7. Spread half of your coconut flakes on a parchment-paper-lined tray.

  8. Pour your mixture on the tray and spread it evenly with the help of a spatula. Make sure the layer is not too thick -

  9. Spread your remaining toasted coconut flakes on top.

  10. After cooling, you can place your Cezerye in your fridge and when cold you can slice it to share with loved ones.


Things I am loving and reading:

  1. "You can attract luck simply by sharing your work publicly." - James Clear

  2. A really great article about how, Cuisine Connects Turkish Armenians To Ancient Roots “The kitchen doesn’t have a nationality. Cuisine comes from geography,” says Bağış. “To say, ‘this is Armenian’ or ‘this is Turkish’ is very difficult. This is a place where different people have lived together for a long time.”

  3. A great video (below) about "How the Syrian Civil War Created A Unique Espresso Culture in Turkey." I posted about this video on Instagram and I highly recommend learning about the importance of coffee in Turkish and Ottoman history.