Znoud el Sit (Cream Filled Pastries)

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Makes 20 pieces

These cute sweet cream-filled pasteries are a staple in many middle-eastern households, especially as an Iftar treat during the Holy month of Ramadhan. Znoud means 'upper arm' and these decadent treats are playfully called Znoud el Sit (ladies' upper arm) in honour of plump ladies' creamy upper arms. 

Ingredients for the Cream Filling (Ashta)
1 cup
whole milk
1 cup
whipping cream
(or any cream that you have on hand)
3 slices
slices white bread, edges trimmed off
2 tbsp
cornstarch/cornflour or custard powder, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1 tbsp
finely crushed almonds
Ingredients for Sugar Syrup
1 1/2 cups
3/4 cup
1 tsp
lemon juice
1 tsp
orange blossom water or a few saffron strands
1/2 tsp
rose water or vanilla essence
Other Ingredients
Fresh white bread slices
(you can also use phyllo sheets)
sealing paste made from flour and water
(quarter cup of each)
Ghee or oil for deep frying
(you can mix the two)
1/4 cup
pistachios, roughly crushed
1/4 cup
almonds, roughly crushed or sliced

If you have access to the canned Ashta cream (a sort of thick clotted cream) then you can just buy and use that instead of making it from scratch.

First prepare the Cream Filling/Ashta. Trim the edges off the 3 bread slices and tear up the bread into small cubes. Put these in a bowl. Pour the cream and milk over the bread and mix. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour just to help the bread soak and soften some more.

Put the milky bread mixture into a pan, add the 1 tbsp of powdered almonds and place on medium heat, keep stirring. Once it begins heating up add the cornflour/water mixture and continue stirring until the ashta thickens. Turn off the heat, transfer the ashta into a bowl and allow to cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. It will continue thickening as it cools.

Next prepare the sugar syrup by mixing the sugar and water in a small saucepan and placing on the heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves then allow it to come to a gentle boil. Add the lemon juice and let it keep simmering for about 10 minutes until the syrup thickens slightly. Finally add the flavourings of your choice and turn off the heat.

If you are using bread slices, make sure they are very very soft and fresh to ensure they do not crack when rolling.

Trim the edges of each bread slice and flatten it out using a rolling pin. Apply the sealing paste on both of the long sides and on one of the shorter sides of the slice. Add about half a tablespoon of the ashta/filling near the remaining short side of the slice and then gently roll and seal. You can dip your fingertips in a bit of water and press the edges to make sure it is properly sealed. Do not put too much filling or else it will end up oozing out or leaking during shaping or frying. Set aside on a tray. Keep going until all are done.

Cover the tray with cling film and put the pastries in the freezer for at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours to solidify.  This helps ensure the bread dries up a little thereby it will soak less oil during frying.

When ready to fry, warm the syrup lightly (not too hot, just warm) and have it ready. Heat the oil or ghee, then add the rolls a few at a time, seal side down at first. Careful not to burn them as bread will turn colour fast and do not fry at too low heat as they would suck up a lot of oil, so keep the oil temperature at medium high. Fry and turn them around until they are golden on both sides.  Remove on to kitchen towels to drain off the excess oil for a few minutes. Then dip each roll into the warm syrup, turning to ensure each side is well coated and some of the syrup gets absorbed into the pastries. Remove on to a wire rack (place a tray under the rack for easy clean up) so the excess syrup drips off.

You can serve these either at room temperature or cold from the fridge. On serving, remember to drizzle a bit more syrup and scatter the crushed pistachios/almonds over them.

Enjoy!  :)


salamz! is orange blossom water is must????/

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, no it is just an optional flavouring. :)

what is pistachios??

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

A type of nut.

hi fauzia.do u have recipe for choclate sauce wich can b glazed on donuts

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, please check my chocolate ganache recipe in the cakes album.

If I am using phyllo sheet I need to fry or bake

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Either will work. If you plan on baking, brush them with melted butter or oil and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C until golden.

Salaam, If I'm using phyllo sheet, do I still have to freeze them or directly just fry/bake after rolling them?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, no need to freeze when using phyllo.

Salaam, if I use 50-50 Bread instead of white bread for the cream filling, will the taste change?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, it still will be fine but of course you will taste the bread difference as opposed to using plain white bread.

Salaam, I tried this dessert last night using phyllo sheets. I did follow all your instructions carefully, i did put 1/2tbsp of filling on each sheet, but while frying some of them bursted and filling came out. So i tried baking them, same thing happened. After backing they turned out hard and filling got dried (lol),is this normal?
I continued with the recipe, by dipping them in the sugar syrup. Fried ones turned out much better than baked ones in look and taste wise. The baked ones didnt go soft after dipping in the syrup. What do you think much have gone wrong? Pls advice. jazakallah for all the nice & delicious recipe. You have inspired me alot in my cooking :), Thanks once again.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, it is possible that the phyllo sheets were a little on the dry side. They tend to crack when dry because they are pretty thin and very delicate. Try to make sure you brush them with some melted butter if you find them too dry or best to use soft fresh bread slices, works out cheaper and the results are always better. :)

Salaam, thanks for your reply. Yes, that's what i said to myself, next time i will try with bread, Insha Allah they will turn out better :).
Just a small request, pls post baklava recipe if you have.