TSAL – TSUL (Paklava): A New Year Recipe from Sonia Tashjian

First, The Armenian Kitchen wishes everyone a truly Happy,
Peace-filled 2017!

Second, To help ring-in the New Year, my dear friend, Sonia Tashjian, has sent in a
very special Armenian treat to help you and your loved-ones celebrate the coming year.
Sonia Tashjian’s ‘Tsal-Tsul’ New Year Dessert!

Sonia stated: “One of the most subtle recipes of Armenian
New Year is
TSAL – TSUL, which is the old Armenian name for pakhlava. Tsal-tsul
is easier to make than traditional pakhlava making it a pleasure to serve
during the holidays.” Sonia explained that ‘Armenian cuisine has a ritual cake,
gata or kata, and then, of course, there is pakhlava, two very unique sweets. Because both the classic gata
and pakhlava are harder to prepare, people invented an easier version – TSAL-TSUL.’

So, I understand this to mean that tsal-tsul is a
cross between the gata and pakhlava.

Here is Sonia’s recipe …

Ingredients for the dough:
3 yolks
1 cup sour cream
14 (yes, fourteen!) Tbsp. of butter
2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
Flour (as Sonia puts it: ‘There is an Armenian expression,
enough flour that is needed to make a dough.’)

Ingredients for the filling:
5 egg whites
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 cups of chopped walnuts

Egg wash: 2 beaten yolks for brushing

Syrup: 1 cup of honey mixed with
1/2 cup of water to pour on it after baking


1. To prepare the dough: In a small bowl, mix
together the egg yolks and sour cream; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add 2
cups of flour and the baking powder. Cut-in the butter until it is resembles
small peas. Mix in the yolk-sour cream mixture. Add enough flour, a little at a
time, to create a workable dough. Knead the dough; divide it into 3 equal parts,
let it stand for 15 minutes. Roll each section, one at a time, with a rolling
pin into a rectangular shape to fit into a 9”x13” pan.

2. Prepare the filling: whisk together the egg whites
and sugar until light and fluffy, then gently add the cinnamon and chopped walnuts.
3. Place the first rectangular layer of dough in the tray;
spread half of the filling mixture, then place the second layer of dough &
the rest of the filling, then top it with the 3rd layer of dough. Carefully
flatten the surface with fingers.

4. Glaze: Whisk the 2 yolks, brush the surface, cut into
squares or diamond shapes and bake in a preheated 350 to 375°F oven until

 5. After taking the
pan out of the oven, pour the honey syrup over the top, let it cool &
absorb the liquid.
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  1. Sonia December 31, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    TSAL TSUL is the old Armenian name of pakhlava, nothing related to this recipe, which is a new & easy version of pakhlava; this version is between pakhlava & gata.

  2. Anonymous January 4, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Happy New Year Robyn and Doug!
    I'm looking forward to reading your review of Tsal-Tsul when you make it!
    The ingredients for the Filling seem to be a meringue. Might this be the request for a recipe (or at least the filling) posted on your site on May 15, 2010?

    1. Robyn Kalajian January 6, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      Hi Anon, I will double-check with Sonia, but I don't think this is an answer to that particular request. I believe the egg whites in this are simply whisked into the sugar – not beaten until stiff as you would to make meringue.


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