Another day closer to Eid al Fitr, another sweet recipe for you to bake, and later devour; Tcharek Msaker.
Is the Algerian Arabic word for crescent. It comes from the Turkish word Çeyrek meaning ‘quarter’, as in the ascending quarter moon.
The quarter moon or ‘new moon’ is what we muslims look for on the 29th Ramadan in the night sky.
If we see it, then the following day is Eid – a day of celebration. When we don’t see the new moon we complete 30 days of fasting and after comes the day of Eid.
Tcharek Msaker are therefore most suitable as an Eid cookie / pastry.
Scaled Down Recipe
My recipe is adapted from the famous Oum Walid YouTube channel. I haven’t changed too much really. Only scaling down the recipe to make 12 cookies.
I figured many of you trying this recipe will be beginners to the technique of making and taste of Tcharek.
Here i’m giving you a small batch recipe, with the option to go bigger by doubling or quadrupling the ingredients!! and yes 12 believe it or not, is small for an Algerian Eid sweet recipe.
By no means is my photography on how to shape Tcharek perfect. You see, I only make Tcharek on special occasions. Maybe once or twice a year. I made these ones a month or so before Ramadan.
I forgot to taper the ends of my nut paste filling. This narrowing of the thickness at the ends is encouraged, as it makes shaping the crescent easier later on.
I made my latest batch for Eid a few days ago. I switched-up the texture of the filling; instead of a smooth paste, I coarsely ground the nuts before adding in the sugar and orange blossom water. The principal is the same though, sprinkle the nutty mixture in a tapered line before folding over the dough.
In any case, I like Tcherek with a generous amount of filling. Often in Algeria they are made with a modest amount of filling. Though I’m not sure if this makes it any easier when shaping.
Peanuts are the cheapest and most popular nut here in Algeria, yet almonds are favoured. I even make them with a date paste filling upon my husband’s request.
I prefer a fully icing sugar covered Tcherek Mseker. Admittedly I have a sweet tooth. Also, the icing sugar covers up any mishaps you may have experienced while shaping and baking.
If you would rather them be less sweet, give the crescent cookies a mere dusting of icing sugar before serving.
Enjoy your Eid Baking!
Algerian Eidcrescent cookies filled with nuts and covered in icing sugar.
- 125 g Butter (softened)
- ½ tbsp Sugar (Icing,sieved)
- 1 tbsp Oil (neutral-flavoured such as sunflower)
- 1 tbsp Water (Orange Blossom)
- ¼ tsp Sugar (Vanilla)
- 1 small pinch Baking Powder
- 1 small pinch Salt
- 225* g Flour (plain, all-purpose)
- 150 g Blanched Peanuts (toasted & finely ground)
- 50 g Sugar (granulated or caster)
- ½ tsp Sugar ( vanilla)
- 1 Lemon (zest only*optional* )
- 4 tbsp Water (Orange Blossom)
- ½ cup Water (Orange Blossom)
- 1½ tbsp Sugar (Icing, sieved)
- 500+ g Sugar (Icing,)
Make the Dough:
- In a medium size mixing bowl with an handheld electric mixer or wooden spoon, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, salt and baking powder followed by the oil and orange blossom water. By hand rub in ¾ of the flour and then little by little until you get a soft dough.
You may not need all the flour, or you may need more depending of the quality of the flour.
Cover and set aside.
Make the filling:
- In a small bowl mix together the ground peanuts, sugars and lemon zest if using. By hand mix in the orange blossom water little by little until a smooth paste is formed.
Shaping the Tcharek / Crescent Cookies:
- Divide dough into 12 and shape into balls, do the same with the filling.
- Working with one piece of dough and filling at a time – keep the remaining covered. Pat or roll out the dough ball into an oval approximately 10½cm long.
- Roll the nut paste into a log approx 6½cm long, I recommend to taper both ends *not pictured* Place in the centre of the dough oval.
- Fold the top half of the dough completely over the filling and roll up.
- Pinch together the join to seal.
- With both hands working from the middle-outwards gently roll back and forth to smooth and slightly stretch. Then curve to form a crescent shape.
Tip: use a small bottle cap to curve the nut-filled dough log around.
- Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat the above shaping steps with the remainder of the dough and filling.
Preheat oven to 180c and bake for approximately 15mins until tcherek are golden brown underneath and remain pale golden on the surface. Remove and allow to cool completely on the baking tray.
- In a small bowl add orange blossom water and stir in the 1½tbsp icing sugar. In a medium mixing bowl add the icing sugar.
- Place each Tcherek first into the orange blossom water mixture.
- Then into the icing sugar, sprinkle and cover completely. Allow each crescent to stay in the icing sugar for a few minutes before taking out and gently smoothing and pressing the icing sugar coating with your fingers. Sprinkle more icing sugar on any part of the tcharek which isn’t evenly covered, press and smooth. Repeat until all are covered. Place in paper cases and serve.
- Other nuts may be used instead
- Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for 7-10days.
- I often prepare and bake the cookies one day then, the following day coat in icing sugar.