Makes about 30 pieces
For the pastry:
- 3⁄4 cup strained fresh orange juice
- 4 large eggs
- 31⁄2 to 41⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, as needed
For the filling:
- 3⁄4 cup sesame seeds
- 3 cups finely ground walnuts or almonds
- (not blanched)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
For the syrup:
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups honey
- 2 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 to 6 whole cloves, to taste
- 1 strip lemon zest
- 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
1. Prepare the dough: Beat the orange juice and eggs together in a large bowl until frothy. Add the flour in 1⁄2-cup increments, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon after each addition, until a dough mass begins to form. Knead by hand, adding enough flour to form a firm, smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest while you prepare the filling and syrup.
2. Prepare the filling: Pound the sesame seeds in a mortar or in a food processor until coarse and mealy. Combine with the ground nuts, cinnamon, and cloves.
3. Make the syrup: Heat the sugar, honey, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick, cloves, and zest. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
4. Lightly oil a baking sheet or jelly roll pan. Combine the melted butter and olive oil. Divide the dough into 4 equal balls. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Flatten the first ball of dough with your palm and shape into a rectangle about 8 inches wide and 10 to 12 inches long. Using a rolling pin, roll it out, alternately working it vertically, then horizontally, so that it retains its rectangular shape. Place it horizontally in front of you. Brush the surface with some of the butter-and-oil mixture. Sprinkle a quarter of the nut mixture over the entire surface of the pastry, leaving about an inch clear on the bottom and sides.
5. Fold the bottom flap of pastry over the filling so that it is covered by about 2 inches. Place the dowel across the bottom and carefully roll up the dough tightly around the dowel. When you get tothe top, push the pastry in, toward the center, from both sides to shirr or wrinkle it. Remove the dowel. Cut the roll into 11⁄2-inch nuggets and place seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Brush the tops with the remaining butter and oil and bake until light golden, about 30 minutes.
6. While the samousathes are still hot, submerge them, in batches, in the cooled syrup. If desired, place them in individual paper confection cups or between sheets of wax paper in several cookie tins. These keep up to two weeks stored in a cool, dry place.