Aunt Jacqueline, who prepares this delicious bread for special occasions, generously shared her Shirmal recipe with me.
I’ve made Shirmal with all-purpose flour, cake flour and gluten-free flour. I have also made it using walnut milk instead of dairy products. All versions are delicious. Cardamom, saffron, ginger and cinnamon are the earthy spices that make this Persian delicacy a wonderful treat any time of the day.
I modified the recipe and used gluten-free flour for this post. Cut the recipe ingredients in half for a smaller portion.
5 cups flour (can substitute cake flour or gluten-free flour)
2 cups sugar
6 eggs plus 1 egg (for egg wash)
1 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground cardamom
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
¾ cup milk (can substitute non-dairy milk)
2 Tablespoons sour cream or yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt)
2 packets of yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon saffron strands
2 Tablespoons black or white sesame seeds (optional)
1 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2 – Activate the yeast in warm water. Set aside for ten minutes.
3 – In a large bowl cream sugar and butter.
4 – In another bowl whisk the flour and the other dry ingredients (baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron and ginger) and mix well by hand or with an electric mixer. Incorporate the eggs.
5 – Add the activated yeast to the milk and cream. Add to the flour mixture and mix well.
6 – Transfer to 2 greased rectangular Pyrex dishes. Brush the egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the dough (optional).
7 – Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Bake for 30 minutes for a crispier Shirmal.
Serve warm with Sarsheer (Mascarpone cheese), jams or as a dessert.