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Bint-al-sahn (Honey Cake)

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  • 1 packet dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, beaten well
  • 3/4 cup clarified butter or ghee
  • Melted ghee or butter, for serving
  • Warm honey, for serving


  • Dissolve yeast in the warm water.
  • Into a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and salt. Make a well in center of the flour mixture. Pour beaten eggs and the yeast mixture into the well in center of the flour mixture. Stir to blend and then knead well.
  • Slowly mix in the 3/4 cup warm, melted ghee (or butter); continuously knead dough throughout this process. Continue kneading until dough is smooth and elastic. If dough seems too dry, add a small amount of water at a time.
  • With floured hands, divide the dough into 16 balls about the size of a large egg. On a lightly floured board, place a dough ball, and form it into a very thin round shape, using the heel of your hand. A rolling pin may be used.
  • Brush a baking sheet with ghee. Place the completed round on the baking tray and brush well with melted ghee.
  • Shape 7 more rounds. After completing each round, place on top of the previous round, press the edges with fingertips, and brush well with ghee. Repeat this process with the other 8 rounds. You will have 2 stacks on the baking sheet; be sure to brush the last round with the ghee.
  • Let rest in a warm place for 45 minutes. Bake in a 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. If you tap the base of the tray, there should be a hollow sound to indicate the cakes are done.
  • Serve hot with generous amounts of melted butter and warm honey on top. The traditional way of eating this is to break off pieces with the fingertips and dip into the butter and honey that remains on the serving platter. The cake may also be served by cutting it into wedges and spooning the remaining butter and honey on the serving platter over the top.

Yields: 8 servings

Hint: Many Yemeni women sprinkle the top of the dish with sesame seeds and/or onion seeds for decoration before baking.

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