Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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Life freezes if it doesn't get a taste
of this almond cake.
The stars come up spinning
every night, bewildered in love.
Kahk-bil-Loz
Almond Pistachio Sweet
Pistachio
Total time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 1 hour
Cooling: 1 hour
3 cups whole almonds, shelled
1-½ cups confectioner's sugar
6 tbsp. rosewater
1 egg white
1 cup blanched pistachio meats
3 tbsp. orange blossom water

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Place the almonds and confectioner's sugar in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the nuts are finely ground. Add the rosewater all at once, and continue to process until the mixture is transformed into a smooth paste. Remove to a mixing bowl. Beat the egg white until stiff peaks form, then, by hand, squeeze it into the almond paste. Set the paste aside to rest.

Clean out the work bowl and put in the pistachios. Process until they are finely ground, then add the orange flower water and continue to process until the mixture is transformed into a smooth paste. Remove to another mixing bowl.

Cut two pieces of parchment to just fit the bottom of an 8x8" baking tin. Line the pan with one piece of parchment. Divide the almond paste in half, and spread one half evenly over the bottom of the pan, taking care to make clean, straight edges, and pressing down with dampened fingers to make an even surface.

Lay the other piece of parchment out on a flat surface. On the parchment, repeat the spreading and smoothing process with the pistachio paste. Gently lift the parchment from the work surface and place the pistachio paste, face down, on top of the almond paste.

Peel the parchment off the pistachio paste and lay the parchment back down on the work surface, clean side up. Repeat the spreading and smoothing process with the second half of the almond paste. Gently lift the parchment from the work surface and place the almond paste, face down, on top of the layer of pistachio paste.

Peel the parchment off the almond paste. Put the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and preheat the broiler. Lightly score the surface of the sweet into small squares or slender rectangles. Return the pan to the oven for about 2 minutes, checking frequently, until the surface is light gold. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container; serve at room temperature.