This wickedly buttery, cardamom-scented sweet is from the religious city of Qom, about an hour south of Tehran, and is famous all around Iran. The texture is hard to define, it is perhaps closer to fudge than brittle or toffee, but it is absolutely addictive. Make in one large slab, and cut or break into random pieces, or drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared tray to make individual round portions. The high butter content means it can "sweat" a little bit, so store it in a cool place in an airtight tin, rather than a plastic container. It will keep well for up to two weeks.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (33 votes)


  • 500 g caster sugar
  • 80 ml corn syrup
  • 80 ml water
  • 300 g unsalted butter, roughly diced
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp saffron liquid
  • 50 g unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 50 g slivered pistachios

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and cook until the mixture begins to become golden in colour, then whisk in the butter, cardamom and saffron liquid and cook for a few minutes more, until an even butterscotch colour.

Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking tray and use a spatula to smooth it out as thinly as you can. Sprinkle on the pistachios, pressing them gently into the surface of the toffee. Leave to cool completely before cutting into pieces with a sharp knife.

Recipe from Saraban by Greg and Lucy Malouf. Published by Hardie Grant Books.