Saniora’s Egyptian Palace Bread has a special place in the heart of one Egyptian family.
‘Saniora, my gorgeous teta (grandmother in Arabic) grew up in Egypt in a family of nine children. Her love affair with food started at a very young age as she helped her mother cook the meals to feed her large family. As a mother herself, Saniora had five children yet somehow managed to bake bread weekly for the family, make her own preserved lemons, pickle olives and produce amazing family meals and treats. Some of those I remember well are molokheya (a traditional Egyptian soup), macarona béchamel (creamy pasta bake), and this divine palace bread. In all my years watching her cook – she’s now 91 – I’ve never seen her follow a recipe. The food she creates comes from the heart and that doesn’t need any reference books.’
Amira Georgy, Saniora’s granddaughter
FROM TOP LEFT: MY MUM, LAILA, AND DAD, KAMAHL; MY GRANDFATHER, ASSAD, AND GRANDMOTHER, SANIORA; SANIORA’S DAUGHTERS, HUSBAND AND SON; SANIORA WITH DAUGHTER AMAAL; SANIORA WITH GRANDDAUGHTER JACQUELINE.
SANIORA’S PALACE BREAD (AISH EL SARAYA)
SERVESPREP 10 12 MINUTES (PLUS 30 MINUTES COOLING AND OVERNIGHT REFRIGERATION) COOK 15 MINUTES YOU’LL NEED TO START THIS RECIPE 1 DAY AHEAD.
10 slices white bread, crusts removed, toasted 2½ cups milk ¹⁄³ cup caster sugar 600ml thickened cream ¹⁄³ cup cornflour 2 teaspoons rosewater (see notes) 1 cup chopped pistachio kernels (see notes) Rosewater Syrup ²⁄³ cup caster sugar 3 teaspoons lemon juice 3 teaspoons rosewater
1 Make Rosewater Syrup Place sugar, juice and ²⁄³ cup water in a medium saucepan. Stir over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Stir in rosewater. Cool for 10 minutes. 2 Place ½ the bread in a 5cm-deep, 17cm x 26cm (6-cup-capacity) baking dish, cutting to fit. Pour ½ of the syrup over the bread in the dish. Top with remaining bread, cutting to fit. Drizzle with remaining syrup. 3 Place milk, sugar, cream and cornflour in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Stir in rosewater. Pour over the bread in the dish. Sprinkle with pistachio. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes. Refrigerate overnight or until set. Serve. NUTRITION: (per serve) 1694kj; 26.1g fat; 13.9g sat fat; 6.6g protein; 36.8g carbs; 1.5g fibre; 58mg chol; 120mg sodium.