The Iranian New Year, known as Nowruz, falls on March 21 at the Spring equinox. The holiday is all about fresh starts, the reawakening of nature, and encouraging good things like abundance, fertility, good health, and sweetness in the coming year. At Nowruz it’s customary to serve and gift small sweets, known as shirini, which are typically enjoyed with a glass of hot black tea. With their fragrant hint of rosewater and cardamom, these coins would be perfect on a New Year platter or serve a plate of these Persian desserts at teatime.
This dessert calls for both rose petals and rosewater, ingredients used frequently in Persian cuisine, both for their delicate floral flavor and striking appearance. A little goes a long way in rosewater recipes, so you’ll find this adds just enough rose essence. While rosewater is available at many Whole Foods markets, culinary grade rose petals are mostly found in Middle Eastern and Indian grocery stores, tea shops, and online; if you can’t find them you can make the pistachio crust with just the nuts and powdered sugar, but the rose and California Figs are the stars in this rosewater recipe.
Pistachio Fig Coins with Rosewater Recipe
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons pistachios, toasted and salted, plus extra for garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons dried culinary rose petals, plus extra for garnish (optional)
- 3 tablespoons almond butter
- 3 tablespoons almond flour
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted
- 1 tablespoon rosewater
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed
Make the Coating for the Coins
In a food processor, combine the powdered sugar, pistachios, and cardamom, and pulse to form a coarse meal. Add the rose petals and pulse a few times, until the petals are broken down slightly but you can still see shreds of pink. Transfer to a sealed jar until ready to use.
Make the Pistachio Fig Coins
Place the almond butter, almond flour, dates, rose water, and salt in the food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed. Add the California Figs and pulse a few times until they’re just broken down but the mixture still has a firm, springy texture. Transfer to a clean work surface.
Divide the fig dough into two equal size balls. With lightly oiled hands, roll each ball into a compact log 7” long by 1” in diameter. Chill the logs in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight, before slicing.
Spread the coating in a rimmed dish. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs into ¼-inch thick coins. Working in batches, toss the coins in the coating until they are completely covered on both sides.
Arrange the coins on a platter. Coarsely chop a spoonful of the extra pistachios and sprinkle them on top. Take a generous pinch of the extra rose petals and crush them in your palms over the platter. Serve with hot black tea.
Store the coins in a parchment-lined cookie tin along with any extra coating, so you can quickly touch them up before serving.
Make the coin filling the night before, so it firms up and can be easily sliced into rounds before tossing in the pistachio crust. The coins store well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, but the white appearance of the powdered sugar will fade, so keep extra powdered sugar on hand for a quick touch-up.
Recipe and photo by Louisa Shafia