Khaliat Nahl – Middle Eastern ‘Beehive’ sweet bread buns. Filled with cream cheese or toffee, topped with seeds or chopped nuts and glazed with honey.
As part of MENA Cooking Club we were given a choice of three dishes to cook from the Middle Eastern country Yemen. I chose to try the sweet recipe Khaliat Nahl or Khaliat Al Nahal, which means Beehive in Arabic.
The mini sweet bread buns are arranged in concentric circles in a baking dish/pan to resemble honeycomb.
Traditionally the buns are stuffed with cream cheese. In my recipe I’ve given the option of filling the buns with toffee and topping the buns with nuts instead. My family preferred the toffee and nut version over the traditional, yet each has its own appeal. There is no need to stop at toffee. Caramel, chocolate, chocolate covered caramels etc. or a savoury filling (minus the honey glaze) would all be yummy.
Also, Khaliat Nahl are usually covered in a sugar syrup after baking, instead I glazed mine with a mixture of runny honey, orange blossom water and a small pinch of saffron.
I got a little more indulgent and served a couple of the buns with a scoop of praline ice cream (not home-made) as a dessert before dinner, well technically it was lunch time.
In a few days I’ll be in Algeria meeting my in-laws for the first time, in shaa Allah. I’m equally happy and nervous at the prospect.
I maybe MIA for a month or two, what with our holiday plans and then Ramadan.
I’ve kindly been asked to write two guest post recipes for other Blogs. Those will be available sometime during Ramadan, in shaa Allah.
Khaliat Nahl with Cream Cheese or Toffee & Nuts
Prep Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 18 small sweet buns
Serving Size: 6
Middle Eastern sweet bread rolls filled with cream cheese or toffee and glazed with honey,
- 320 grams strong white bread flour
- 40 grams unsalted butter
- 240 ml whole milk
- 1-2 tablespoon golden caster sugar (if cheese filling – 2bsp or 1tbsp for toffee)
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon fine sea salt ( cheese – ¼, toffee – ½)
- 1 ½ teaspoon fast-action yeast
- 9 cream cheese triangles, halved or
- 9 Werther’s Originals traditional chewy toffees, halved
- 2 tablespoon milk
- 1 egg yolk *optional
- sesame seeds
- Nigella seeds
- chopped mixed nuts
- 125 ml light runny honey
- ½ tablespoon orange blossom water
- small pinch saffron *optional
- Measure flour into a large mixing bowl, add salt on one side of the flour, yeast and sugar on the other and mix well. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm milk and butter together until butter has melted. Make sure the liquid is warm to touch, not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour 3/4 of the milk/butter mixture, mix with a knife then with your hand, add more milk/butter mixture if necessary to bring it together to a soft dough.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Place into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1 hour – It won’t quite double in size because of the high butter and milk content.
- Knock down the dough then divide into 18 pieces – each about 33grams. For cheese filing roll each dough piece out into a flat circle, place your cheese in the middle and gather the dough around it pinching to seal then gently roll into a ball.
- You can do the same for the toffee filling or I’ve found the best way to have the filling central is to roll the piece of dough, first into a ball then push the toffee-half into the centre of the ball and gather the dough around it and gently re-roll into a ball.
- Place each filled dough-ball in a well-greased round 9” cake tin – preferably NOT loose based or use a Pyrex ceramic pie dish, arrange in concentric circles. Cover and allow to rise 30-40 minutes. Meanwhile pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and prepare the glaze – mix milk and egg yolk together in a small bowl.
- Uncover the risen Khaliat Nahl, brush the milk/egg glaze over only the top of the rolls and sprinkle with either sesame and Nigella seeds or chopped mixed nuts. Bake in the middle of the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes or until risen and golden. I turned the tin/dish halfway through baking for an even colour across the rolls.
- While the rolls are baking prepare the honey glaze. Gently warm the honey together with orange blossom water and saffron in a small saucepan. Set aside.
- Once Khaliat Nahl is cooked remove from oven and pour over the glaze, if using a loose-base cake tin then place a tin/tray underneath to catch any drips. You can use all the honey glaze but I only used about half. Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes in the dish before removing the rolls – try to keep the shape intact and place on a cooling rack with a tin underneath, again to catch any drips. Enjoy while they are just-warm or at room temperature.
Other filling suggestions: caramels, chocolate, chocolate-covered caramels, dry fruit. prep time includes inactive first and second rising of the dough.