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5 desserts for celebrating Eid al-Fitr

<i>Mehmet Akif Parlak/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Prepared baklava trays are displayed at a bakery in Turkey's southeastern city of Gaziantep on April 8
Mehmet Akif Parlak/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
Prepared baklava trays are displayed at a bakery in Turkey's southeastern city of Gaziantep on April 8

By Jocelyn Solis-Moreira, CNN

(CNN) — Ramadan is coming to an end, which means it’s time to plan to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. The Islamic religious holiday marks the breaking of the dawn-to-sunset fast with a wide variety of delicious dishes. It also symbolizes a time of hospitality and feasting for Muslims after a month of spiritual growth.

A number of desserts make up the table during Eid al-Fitr. Sweets are traditionally a dish people indulge in over the three-day holiday and are commonly shared amongst family, friends and visitors, said Anissa Helou, a chef and author of the cookbook “Feast: Food of the Islamic World.”

Whether it’s your first time celebrating Eid al-Fitr or you’re looking to diversify your menu, below are five sweet treats to include this year.

Ma’amoul for the cookie lover

Ma’amoul is a butter cookie that is a popular sweet treat across Arab countries such as Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. It is like a short-crust made with semolina paste and filled with nuts and dates, with decorative patterns on the outside made using a variety of molds.

When filled with nuts, the cookie is scented with aromas of rose water, water, orange blossom, water and cinnamon. Date-filled ma’amoul is flavored with a pinch of cinnamon.

“It’s the Arabic version of mooncakes,” Helou said. She added that these butter cookies are a good option for people who are not the most experienced in baking.

Sheer khurma

A classic Eid al-Fitr dish is sheer khurma. The rice pudding is made from whole milk, vermicelli, dates and nuts. It may also contain almonds and raisins. Sheer khurma is usually flavored with cardamon, saffron or coconut. The dish is served cold or warm.

Helou said sheer khurma is often compared to a sweet porridge. However, the major difference is the thin vermicelli used to make sheer khurma’s creamy texture.


Baklava is a dessert layered with thin pastry sheets called phyllo dough and filled with chopped nuts. Anisa Karolia, a food blogger and author of “The Ramadan Cookbook,” said most baklava dishes use walnuts but you can also substitute with pecans and pistachios. Sugar is then added to the top of the pastry sheet before layering it again.

To create flaky layers, Karolia advised spreading melted butter over each dough layer. Baklava is then cut into diamonds or squares before baking in the oven. Once it’s done, you can soak it in syrup. Karolia said a tip is to add orange blossom or rose in your syrup, which gives the dish a pleasant aroma when you bite into it.


L’geimats are fritters dipped in saffron cardamon-flavored syrup or drizzled with date syrup. Helou said these desserts are eaten all year round, but they are ever more present during Ramadan and Eid. Depending on the region, these round pastry balls are known as luqaimat or gemat.


A popular Eid al-Fitr dish is a sweet milk-based dumpling called rasmalai. This Indian dessert is soaked in milk and has a spongy texture, with nuts to give it a bit of a crunch. The dessert is also rich in saffron and cardamom for a sweet taste profile. Rasmalai is boiled in hot milk and then slowly simmered to let the dumplings expand in size. “These soft, juicy dumplings are very delicious and popular during this time,” said Karolia.

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