Like most of seeds, black cumin seeds (black seeds, qizha, or nigella seeds) have many health benefits. They are rich of unsaturated important fatty acids, antioxidant, powerful immune booster, and also they improve overall digestion and maintain normal blood pressure. As a result of all this, black cumin seeds are used in different cuisines especially the eastern ones as seasoning spices for salads, soups, and bread…
Aside from using black cumin seeds (as is without grinding) for seasoning, they also can be used to make black cumin (qizha) paste exactly like extracting tahini from sesame seeds. In Palestine, the best locally made qizha paste comes from Nablus. This thick paste is made from grinding both black cumin and sesame seeds and it can be found in middle-east food stores.
In spite of the bitter taste of black cumin paste (qizha paste), old Palestinians managed to create a sweet treat out of it by adding sugar, oil and roasted flour to the paste and baking them all to get at the end a tasty and original dessert pie. And here I’m posting how exactly to make this extremely healthy and delicious black cumin pie.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil (substitute: 1/2 cup vegetable oil)
- 1/2 cup black cumin (qizha) paste (made of ground black cumin and sesame seeds)
- Pinch of walnut, crushed (optional)
- Pinch of almond, peeled & cut to halves.
- 3/4 cup sugar syrup (to make it: combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a saucepan, boil & stir until sugar is dissolved & syrup is slightly thickened. Allow to cool before using).
In a large saucepan, roast flour over medium heat and stir frequently until it turns lightly gold (this usually takes about 10 minutes). Leave aside to cool slightly. And then add sugar, olive oil, black cumin (qizha) paste.
Rub the mixture using both hands and knead the dough while adding ¾ cup of water gradually until dough is smooth and well mixed. Add walnuts and mix them with the dough. Lay the dough into the ovenproof pan. Using a knife, cut the dough into small square shaped treats, garnish with almond (I add one almond to each piece).
Place the pan in the lower level of the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until it gets crispy from the bottom then roast the top for 5 to 10 minutes. Place out of the oven, add sugar syrup over the cooked pie and let cool before serving.