Turkish Sesame Sweet

This recipe comes from the late Jack Sages. Jack was the sixth generation of his family to be born in Turkey, after his ancestors were driven out of Spain during the Spanish Inquisition. He loved to cook, having learnt from his mother and sister who were both great cooks. Jack lived in Sydney with his wife and companion of 55 years, artist Jenny Sages, until he passed away in 2010.

Jack’s memory lives on in the recipes and stories he left behind.

Thanks Alan Benson for the gorgeous photo of the sesame sweet (on the right) and the basboussa (a sweet semolina cake) on the left. Recipes can be found in our second book ‘The Feast Goes On’.

Turkish Sesame Sweet

This is a traditional Turkish sweet often sold wrapped in cellophane. It is a lovely way to finish a meal with a cup of sweetened fresh mint tea.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Sweet Things
Cuisine Turkish


  • 250 grams sesame seeds (2 cups)
  • 250 grams sugar (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  • Place a large sheet of baking paper, about 60 x 30 cm (24 x 12 inches), on a work surface or chopping board.
  • Toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan over low heat until golden, taking care not to burn them.
  • Put the sugar and honey in a heavy-based non-stick saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Boil for several minutes until the mixture is a rich golden colour. Add the sesame seeds and stir well.
  • Carefully pour the hot mixture onto the baking paper, then cover immediately with another sheet of baking paper. Working quickly, use a rolling pin to firmly roll out the sesame mixture to about 5 mm (¼ inch) thick. Cut immediately into diamond shapes or leave whole till cool, then break into shards. Store in an airtight container for up to one week. Makes a 60 x 30 cm (24 x 12 inch) slab


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