Browse All Recipes

Ladies’ forearms

Australian Gourmet Traveller Middle Eastern inspired recipe for 'znood el set', or ladies forearms, by chef Joseph Abboud.

By Joseph Abboud
  • Serves 6
  • Print
Ladies’ forearms
This recipe for znood el set makes about 12.


  • 12 sheets filo pastry
  • for deep-frying ghee
  • 50 gm coarsely chopped pistachios
  • 440 gm white sugar (2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp rosewater
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
Banana filling
  • 20 gm butter
  • 20 gm brown sugar
  • 2 bananas, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 300 gm ashtar (see note) or fresh ricotta
  • 200 gm pistachio halva, broken into 1cm pieces


  • 1
    For banana filling, melt butter in a small saucepan, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add banana, then juice and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, banana should still be a little firm, then remove from heat and cool. Gently fold together banana, ashtar and halva.
  • 2
    For syrup, combine sugar with ½ cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add rosewater and juice, then set aside to cool.
  • 3
    Cut filo sheets crossways into four 26cm x 9cm pieces and cover with a tea towel to prevent pastry drying out. Lay 2 pieces of pastry on top of each other on a work surface. Repeat with another 2 pieces, then lay the second piece perpendicular to the first to create an upside down T-shape. Place 2 tbsp of filling in the join of the T, leaving about 8cm on either side. Fold over the sides to enclose, then roll along the length of the T to create a cigar shape
    and brush edges with water to seal. Repeat with remaining pastry and filling.
  • 4
    Heat ghee in a large, deep saucepan or deep-fryer to 190C. Add pastries and deep-fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden, then remove, drain on absorbent paper and dip in sugar syrup. Serve scattered with chopped pistachios.


Note Ashtar is cooked cream available from Middle Eastern grocery stores.

  • Author: Joseph Abboud