Shor gogal, sheker bura and bakhlava are all eaten at the Novruz spring holiday. According to one tradition, the round, yellow gogal represents the sun, while the crescent shaped sheker bura is the moon. The process of making gogal is time consuming and, traditionally, the women of the family come together before Novruz to make gogal. Although gogal are a holiday food, nowadays they are enjoyed all year round as well.
Preparation time: 90 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 min
For the pastry:
1 kg /2.2 lb plain flour
25 g/1 oz fresh yeast
1/2 l/17 fl. oz warm milk
pinch of salt
a few threads of saffron
fennel seeds (if not using in the filling)
250 g/10 butter or margarine (or sheep fat, which is traditionally used)
For the filling:
300-500 g/12oz – 1lb 2 oz flour
250 g/10 oz softened butter (not margarine)
2 egg yolks
salt & pepper
For the glaze:
Take the butter out of the fridge to allow it time to reach room temperature.
Put a few threads of saffron in a cup and add boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse.
Warm the milk to 30-35 degrees Celsius/86-95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sieve the flour and salt onto a large board or into a large bowl and make a hole in the centre. Pour the warm milk, water from the saffron, yeast and egg into the hole and gradually fold in the flour from the outside.
Knead well until the dough is smooth and soft.
Cover with a clean teacloth and leave in a warm place to rise for 60 to 90 minutes.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling.
Beat the egg yolks and the butter well (a mixer makes the job easier) until the mixture is pale. Gradually add the flour, salt and turmeric until the mixture becomes crumbly. You can add crushed fennel seeds to the filling if you do not put them between the layers of pastry. Take the risen dough and separate into seven balls, one for each layer.
Roll out the first ball until the pastry is very thin, 0.5 mm/0.02 inch thick.
Spread the first layer with soft butter. Some cooks like to add a sprinkling of the filling on every layer of pastry, while others prefer to put the filling in the middle of the gogal. The choice is yours.
Roll out the second ball of pastry. Place the rolled out pastry on top of the first layer, spread with softened butter and sprinkle with the filling (if using this method). Repeat until all the layers have been used. Don’t add the butter and filling to the top layer.
Cut the layers of pastry into strips, 1 to 2 inches thick. Cut the strip into pieces some 2 inches long.
Now for the tricky part – take a piece of pastry, roll into a mini swiss roll shape, take each end of the roll and twist like a sweet wrapper. Press the twist of pastry down into a round shape.
To stuff each gogal, make a hole in the middle of the gogal with your thumb and form a pocket for the filling. Put a spoon of filling into the pocket and close the dough over the hole. Turn the gogal upside down and place on a firm surface. Push down carefully to flatten the gogal but not too much. Set aside and cover with food film. Continue until all the rolls are done.
Place the round gogal onto a well greased baking tray. Brush the top of each gogal with beaten egg yolk, with the threads of saffron added, and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Bake in a hot oven 200 C/390 Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 8 for 20-25 minutes until the gogal are golden or golden brown.