The Evolution of Baghdad’s Medieval Sweets

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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The cultivation of ingredients such as sesame, wheat, and dates from ancient times helped nurture a sweets-loving culture in the region well before the foundation of Abbasid Baghdad. Fragments of cuneiform tablets of fruitcake recipes and other records show that making pastries and confections was already a thriving business in the region, and desserts were consumed in large amounts during the religious festivals. Among these sweets were date-filled, rosewater-infused cookies (qullupu), date halvah (mirsu), and muttaqu, a flour-based pudding. See halvah.