Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Kaʾk an Arabic term for a ring-shaped biscuit which may be seasoned with cumin and coriander and coated with egg and sesame seeds. A Moroccan variation adds allspice and a pinch of chilli to the dough.

In the Lebanon kaʾk bil-Semsum is a thick, small pitta bread that is dipped in sesame seeds on both sides before being baked. It is either shaped as a small round pitta bread or made into a small handbag-like loaf with a thick round handle and a flattish round body. It is eaten as a savoury snack with a sprinkling of zaatar on the insides. Kaʾk is also made into a sweet breakfast sandwich, the bag end of the bread being cut open and filled with knafeh (see qataʾif). Lebanese Christians use a version of the dough, sweetened, enriched with milk, and flavoured with mahlab (black cherry stone extract), aniseed, and marjoram, to make Easter biscuits, kaʾk bi Halib; these are stamped flat with a wooden die bearing a religious motif.