Syrian Phyllo Sweet With Qashta (Ward El Sham)

READY IN: 50mins
YIELD: 28 pieces


  • Syrup or Attar or Asl
  • 2
    cups sugar
  • 1
    cup water
  • 1
    tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1
    teaspoon orange blossom water (or rose water)
  • Pastry
  • 20
  • 2
    (170 g) cans cream (plain qashta, from Middle Eastern shops)
  • 34
    cup unsalted butter, melted (sweet butter)
  • ground pistachios, for decoration
  • 1 12
    teaspoons orange blossom water (or rose water or I have used both too)
  • 1 12
    teaspoons white sugar


  • Prepare the syrup:
  • Note that either the syrup should be cool and the pastry hot or visa versa when pouring it over top to keep the phyllo sheets crisp, ie not to let them get soggy.
  • Mix sugar and water and bring to the boil.
  • Add lemon juice and boil for 7 more minutes.
  • Remove from heat cool slightly and add orange blossom water, stir.
  • Cool down to pour over the pastry hot from the oven.
  • For the pastry:
  • Preheat oven to 325F (My oven cooks high you may rather 350F if your oven runs lower).
  • Grease a 9 x 13inch pan with butter.
  • Carefully cut dough in half or to the sizes that would fit your pan first or as you go along, whichever you find easier. Keep the pastry covered with a layer of plastic wrap and on top, a damp towel. As soon as you take one phyllo sheet, cover the remainder up again.
  • Spread 10 layers of phyllo into the pan buttering each as you go.
  • In a small bowl add the plain qashta, sugar and orange blossom water, mix well.
  • Carefully spoon the qashta mixture on top of the tenth phyllo sheet, leveling it.
  • Add the remaining 10 layers of phyllo on top of the qashta mixture making sure to butter all the sheets.
  • Cut the pastry with a pastry cutter into even squares before placing it in the oven.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until it becomes golden (It must be golden not white!).
  • Remove from oven and pour the cooled syrup over the hot pastry using as much as needed. (I may have used 1 1/2 cups, I just keep adding until it looks like enough, the pastry will absorb it!) You may also do it visa versa, cold pastry/hot syrup.
  • Allow pastry to stand for a few hours to absorb the syrup.
  • Decorate with ground pistachios.
  • Enjoy!