Tcharek M’saker is an occasional pastry that is prepared in Algeria for weddings. It is popular in Algiers, the capital of the country.
It consists of white flour, icing sugar (powdered sugar), and a pinch of salt; it is one of the tastiest pastries.
These cookies are a splendor on any celebratory table.
What is Tcharek M’saker?
Tcharek ( Arabic تشاراك ) means crescent and Msaker is the pronunciation of the Algerian Arabic word which means coated with sugar.
It is a crescent coated with sugar. They are also called “Cornes de Gazelle” in the French language ( English – Gazelle’s horns).
This Algerian traditional cookies are prepared for special occasions such as religious celebrations and weddings. They are served with tea or coffee.
There is a variety of the Algerian crescents or Tcherek such as Tcherek El Aryan, Tcherak M’aassel and Tcherek Nekkache.
Tcharek M’saker Recipe
The basic dough for this recipe can be used to make several different variations (Tcherek bel kawkaw – Tcherek with peanuts, Tcherek Masaker, Tcherek el Talia ( Icing covered horns), Tcherek m’assel (honeyed horns), but abut also Araïche (starfish), Kaakettes (crowns).
All these varations are simply delightfully delicious dainty little cookies. Filled with pulverized almonds made into a paste by adding fragant maz’har (orange blossom water) and sugar.
In traditional Algerian cooking, they use real honey and real butter for these desserts reserving them only for special occasions, but nowadays economics are made by using margarine and assila which is a sugar suryp.
Be Sure to Try These Other Authentic Algerian dishes!
Tcharek M’saker, Algerian Gazelle Horns
For the dough:
- 300 g of all purpose flour/plain flour
- 150 g of ghee or melted butter
- 100 ml of water and orange blossom water mix 50ml each, mixed together
- Pinch of salt
- 8 g vanilla sugar
For the filling:
- 300 g of almond powder
- 150 g of caster sugar
- Pinch of cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp of soft butter
- Orange blossom water
Method for the dough:
- In a large bowl, add the flour, the vanilla sugar, the salt and the ghee.
- Start mixing all the ingredients together.
- Slowly pour water+orange blossom water mix and continue to mix until you form a soft dough.
- Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
For the filling:
- In a shallow bowl, add the almond powder, the sugar, the soft butter and the cinnamon.
- Mix the ingredients with your fingers.
- Add slowly the orange blossom water (spoon by spoon).
- Mix until you obtain a paste.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the refrigerator and roll small balls (12 grams each).
- Proceed the same way for the rest of the dough.
- Roll each small ball into a small log of 10 centimeters and set aside.
Method for the Gazelle Horns:
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Flour a clean surface.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator.
- Flatten the dough with a rolling pin (very thin).
- Make circle with a round cookie cutter (12 centimeters).
- Place the stuffing on the edge of the circle.
- Roll with your fingers to make a log, and then bend the sides to make the shape of a crescent (the edges should be thin, see as the picture).
- Proceed the same way with all the circles.
- Bake at 180C degrees for 30 minutes or until the bottom is gold.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Method for the coating:
- In a large bowl add 500ml of orange blossom water.
- Dip each crescent into the orange blossom water and put them into a colander.
- Proceed the same way for all the crescents.
- In another bowl add icing sugar.
- Coat each crescent into the icing sugar.
- Repeat this procedure two times for a nice coating (wait one hour between the two coatings).
- Serve these succulent pastries with coffee or a fragrant mint tea.