March 17, 2016

Quick & Easy Shirini Zaban - Zaban Puff Pastry (Nowruz 1395)

The air is thick with excitement in anticipation of نوروز - Nowruz. Preparation for Persian New Year starts weeks before the spring equinox with khaneh tekany (spring cleaning) and growing sabzeh (seeds) for the haft seen table. It has been many years since I have lived in my home country. Yet all it takes is a smell or a taste to bring even those long-forgotten memories back into my mind's eyes. The Persian New Year celebration gives me a chance to relive those many memories of family, togetherness, the haft seen spread, and celebrations.

It's time to start thinking about the Nowruz dinner menu. The Nowruz dinner is marked by a number of traditional dishes that are known for this occasion such as kookoo sabzi, sabzi polow, mahi, ash reshteh, reshteh polow, etc. I have put together a typical Nowruz menu of my favorite recipes.

There are many different Nowruz sweets available in bakeries all over Iran. However, if you happen to live where you do not have access to any of those good Iranian bakeries then, like me, you would have to make your own homemade Nowruz desserts. The sugar sprinkled, golden, light and flaky شیرینی زبان shirini zaban (زبان - zaban means tongue in Persian) is a connection to my childhood -- when I remember having them for special occasions. For this recipe, you'll need one sheet of puff pastry. If you have the time and patience you can make your own homemade puff pastry from scratch. However, if you find that to be too time-consuming then head to the freezer section of your local grocery store and buy a package of frozen puff pastry. While there's nothing like a homemade pastry, I took the easy route this time and used a store-bought frozen puff pastry.

Shirini Zaban with Frozen Puff Pastry 

Yield: 20 pieces

1 (14-ounce) box of frozen puff pastry, thawed  (I used Dufour puff pastry)
1-2 tablespoons sugar

For the syrup

1/3 cup honey ( I used clover honey)
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon rosewater

Flour for dusting the surface
Crushed pistachios and  powdered sugar for garnish

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the honey with water and rosewater, mix well. Set aside.
  4. Unfold the puff pastry on your lightly floured counter and dust the top of the pastry with a little flour. 
  5. Using a soft pastry brush, lightly brush the pastry with honey syrup.
  6. Using a cookie cutter cut out the pastry into zaban shape or using a sharp blade cut the pastry into rectangular pieces.
  7. Place the cut-out puff pastries on the baking sheet leaving a little space between them.
  8. Using a knife make a lengthwise light cut through the center of each zaban.
  9. Sprinkle each zaban generously with sugar.
  10. Place the sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden, cooked through and puffed.
  11. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
  12. Apply another light film of honey syrup over the pastries. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Serve with freshly brewed hot tea.

Enjoy! Happy Nowruz!


  1. This looks amazing and simple and tasty!!! I loved these pastries as a kid.... I think I will make them on Saturday! Eid mobarak! xoxo

  2. I have some puff pastry that has been in my freezer for months! Now I know what to do with it. :-)

  3. sounds real simple indeed; will definitely go for it; thanks for making it so appealing though for your beautiful pictures as always. and happy norooz!

  4. It is amazing how aromas and foods can bring back fond memories and nostalgia of Iran. These puff pastry cookies sure are examples of such. Happy Nowruz, dear Azita! :)

  5. Thank you for sharing - I have Iranian parents but was raised in the US. I only have memories of Norouz celebrated here. Fortunate to be in California where we have access to great markets, bakeries and restaurants...not to mention loving relatives who cook for us! Aid eh Shomah Mobarek 🌷

  6. Always a delight to visit your site, so graceful and lovely. Best wishes to you and yours for the new year. Nowruzetun piruz!

  7. Just beautiful and delicious, Happy New Year, Nawruz to you and yours.

  8. Your photography is so beautiful. Best wishes for the new year of 2016

  9. I made these and they were so easy to make and absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing this recipe with us!