Aleppo Turnovers with Date Filling

Published July 29, 2018

Sitto’s kitchen was filled with the aroma of her Aleppo Turnovers with Date Filling as I raced in after school. I knew from the wonderful scent of Mahlab spice that Sitto was making her Aros. She was filling those soft, plump turnovers with dates, delicious with the flavor of butter and Orange Blossom Water. I anticipated a taste as I watched my grandmother make these homemade delights, all remembered recipes from her own grandparents in Aleppo, Syria.

It was on one of those days, many years later, when I came to her kitchen again as a young married woman. I wanted to help her, but more importantly, I wanted to learn how to make these scrumptious turnovers Sitto called, “Aros.” Her kitchen table would be covered with mounds of dough, ready for the next batch. She began by patting out the dough into a circle. She reached for her printing block, decades old and handed down to her from her own grandmother. She would stamp into the dough, making a beautiful design, then turned over the dough circle to add the filling of creamed dates to the center. She closed the turnover and sealed it with her hand-held pastry wheel. Those Aros would be ready to pop into the oven as soon as the last batch came out.

It was on this day, during our baking together, that she reached over to pick up that old wooden block with the beautiful floral design carved into it. With strong hands, she broke it in two, handing me one half with a smile. I will never forget that moment. The torch had been passed. And I gladly carry it with me today with lovely memories of that day, each time I make Sitto’s Aleppo Turnovers.

Find this recipe on page 36 of Sitto’s Kitchen II Cookbook.