Cezerye

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Okay, this is not something I made. And this will not be a post in which I give a recipe. It will be a kind of description post. As I am from Tarsus, a small town in Mersin, a Southern city of Turkey, it is a must for me to tell about this amazing sweet snack called cezerye in Turkish. Cezerye is a specialty sweet in Tarsus and Mersin. When people visit these cities, they buy pacakages of cezerye to take with them and give their friends. My parents live there and always bring a package for us whenever they visit us.

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There are several shops in Tarsus that make and sell cezerye, but one of them named Gorallar is the best. It may sound a very simple carrot sweet, but there is absolutely a flavor difference among cezeryes produced by different shops. I’ve had the chance of tasting several different cezeryes and absolutely  found the one made by Gorallar the most scrumptious. Unfortunately, they don’t give the exact recipe, they keep it as a secret. When you ask for its recipe, they just say that they mix carrot, sugar, nuts and cinnamon. I’m sure it’s more than this though.

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Another reason why I love especially this candy shop is that they have a very nice package. When you open its cover, you see some beautiful photos of important and touristic places in Tarsus. Let me give their names. From left to right: Cleopatra’s Gate, Grand Mosque, St. Paul’s Well, Donuktas The Roman Temple. Many tourists visit Tarsus to see these places every year. St. Paul’s church and well have the utmost attraction among these. I think it is such a nice detail to place these photos inside a sweet package.

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Moreover, Gorallar gives you a booklet informing you about the origin of cezerye. And you find more information about Tarsus history including St. Paul’s Well, St. Paul’s church, Celopatra’s Gate, Eshab-ı Kehf(Cave of the seven sleepers), Doctor Lokman, The Sahmeran Legend etc.

So what is cezerye? Let me quote it from this booklet:

Cezerye, which was according to the rumors recommended to patients by “Loqman The Wise”, who lived in Tarsus, has highly nutritious and aphrodisiac effect besides its healing effect. Cezerye, whose main ingredient is carrot, contains a number of minerals and vitamins A1, B1, B2 and E, consisting of its composition of dry nuts and spices. Also it contains no cholesterol.


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The booklet also says that cezer, the root of cezerye means carrot in Arabic. So it might have been invented by Arabic people as there is still an Arabic population in some regions of Tarsus. Although It’s not written in this booklet, I must say that the lusciousness of cezerye is hidden in spices in it. These spices are not said aloud, as it’s their secret, but dad says it contains cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and clove. Maybe amounts of these spices determine the outstanding taste of their cezerye. Also, it has varieties with walnut, pistachio and hazelnut (my favorite). It is sold either in big pieces (as in my package) or in rectangular and thicker bars (as in the picture of the recipe I’ve found for you).

Cezerye is generally bought from shops and as I’ve said above, not every cezerye tastes the same. So it’s a bit risky o try it at home. This time ‘homemade foods are always better’ doesn’t work, so I’ve never tried it at home. We are lucky enough to buy them here. Maybe you can find it too at online markets selling Turkish foods. However, I searched a recipe for you and find one here in case you want to try it yourself. I will translate it for you.

 

Cezerye

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 24 pieces

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The best dessert made with carrot is this cezerye.

Ingredients

  • 400g carrot
  • 200g sugar
  • 100g walnut, crumbled
  • Grated coconut
  • A little water

Instructions

  1. Grate carrots and put it in a large pot.
  2. Melt sugar in a little water and pour this into the pot. Boil it over medium heat. Do not pour much water at the beginning as carrots also release their juice. Adding little hot water when necessary is better.
  3. Boil it stirring occasionally until carrots melt and it has a mastic thickness. To understand it is okay, take a little piece with a spoon and roll it between your thumb and forefinger. If it sticks on one finger when you give up rolling, it is done.
  4. Take it from fire and throw crumbled walnut into the pot and mix it well.
  5. Wet the counter and pour this carrot paste on it.
  6. Give it a rectangular shape with a spatula. Don’t make it too thin. Let it rest and get cold.
  7. When it gets cold enough, wet a knife and cut it in rectangles. Wet the knife often when cutting, otherwise the sweet sticks on it and it gets hard to cut.
  8. As a final step, coat the carrot bars with grated coconut and then serve.
http://www.giverecipe.com/cezerye.html

Comments

  1. says

    Wow! So simple and yet so delicious! I’ve never tried or heard of this before, so thank you for the introduction. I’m eager to find some now. Have a lovely day!

  2. says

    well, I am glad I guessed right! I thought of the arabic word “jazar” and it sounded about the same; in Lebanon there is a sweet based on carrots too; Mersin was one place I remember from my first visit to Turkey more than (OOps) decades ago! and it was beautiful! I would love to visit southeastern Turkey again!

  3. says

    That sounds like such an unusual (and tempting) treat Zerrin! I’ve made carrot halva once before, which is similar I think (and it was absolutely delicious!) – I would love to give cezerye a try sometime.

  4. says

    It’s healthy and it’s a tasty treat? Wonderful on all accounts. Hope to try it one day.

  5. says

    I so much want to make this candy, I mean candy out of carrots. is such a great idea.
    Love the pictures and the history behind them. It seems like I was there for a few minutes. Thanks for always posting this type of stories about your culture and for taking the time to translate the recipe.

    Blessings to you and your husband.

    Mely

  6. OysterCulture says

    Zerrin,

    I never thought I’d say this, but I think you outdid yourself. This looks absolutely amazing. I cannot wait to try this lovely treat.

    What wonderful information and the story behind this goodie is great. I think I’ve seen cezeryne around here, and now that I know what it is, I will definitely give it a try. If not, I am certainly going to make it. I cannot wait!

  7. Latha says

    You don’t mention any spices in your recipe – cinnamon, ginger, turmeric — is that optional?

    Thanks.

  8. says

    Latha- Thank you for asking. You’re right, especially cinnamon is a must in cezerye. It’s not my own recipe, I found the recipe on the Internet and it doesn’t have any spices. We don’t make it at home here, cezerye is something we buy from its shop. And it always has these spices, so use them if you try this recipe.

  9. Lydia says

    I experimented and had great results. I didn’t use nuts this time, but I used 2 t. cinnamon to the above proportions and also about 1t. vanilla extract. I cooked it a long time (10 min uncovered at first, then I covered it and stirred, checked every 5 min, tll it had cooked 10 min uncovered, and 15 minutes uncovered. The cezerye my daughter’s grandmother brought from Tarsus was dark colored and in large, flat pieces. I achieved this dark color by cooking it a long time (medium heat) and was almost afraid I had burnt the sugar in it, but it was just right. I added the vanilla after it had cooked. It was very thick and sticky and I turned it out onto waxed paper covered with coconut then i flattened it out a little and sprinkled more coconut on top and laid waxed paper on top and rolled it flat and then cut it. The irregular edges I cut off, I rolled into balls, which were nice, too!

    The coconut helped keep the surface from being too sticky, so I made sure it was well covered. The coconut was finely grated and unsweetened that I got from an international food market. It is not the common larger, sweetened shreds available here in the US. I used “Ziyad” brand “coconut macaroon”

    I think the secret that is not mentioned in any of the few recipes I found is to dry the finished candy some. I rolled it out 1/4 inch, cut it into about 1×2 rectangles and put them in my oven on “warm” to about 150 degrees for a couple of hours and then it made it drier, stiffer, and easier to handle. The appearance was much like store-bought, and i think the taste was even better! You say every shop has its own signature flavor–I have found mine! My daughter’s Turkish father said it was good, too!

    It is good to be able to make this at home. I can see why you wouldn’t bother, but we have no Cezerye shops in Tennessee that I know of! It is a much healthier alternative to the plain lokum and I’m glad to be able to make it!

    • says

      Lydia, how nice you can make it at home. If your Turkish husband loves it, I’m sure you made it perfect! Your daughter is so lucky to have such a mom. Thank you for sharing your experience here.

  10. Emma says

    Thanks Zerrin, I made this twice this week, with the cinnamon, ginger and turmeric. The second time I cooked the paste on a high fire while stirring all the time until it got really thick but still orange.
    Everybody loves it, thanks for the recipe!

    • says

      Glad to hear that you love it! Isn’t it a wonderful snack? Thanks for sharing the result here.

  11. says

    Just made a second batch to take to an Iftar dinner. My recipe is 2 cups grated carrot , 1 cup of sugar, and 2 t. Cinnamon, cooked till dark and to proper consistency, remove from heat and add 1 t. Vanilla extract. I did not use nuts, but might add them next time. I use my blender to ‘grate’ large amounts of carrots or onions or cabbage-peel, chop into chunks, throw into blender, cover with water, hit the ‘grate’ button for a few seconds, and dump into a strainer to drain off the water-it can be a real timesaver! I doubled the recipe and used a 2 pound bag of carrots and had 3 carrots left over and it it turned out to be right at 4 c. Packed down a little-weighing is more precise, but I think minor variations even out in the cooking. A sweet guy from Mersin told me it was good and when I asked him “what does it need?” he said the taste was perfect, but it could be thicker, ‘harder’ and in bigger pieces. I had made it thicker and had cut it smaller so there would be more pieces, and I skipped the ‘dry in the oven at 150 degrees’ step, which definitely makes a difference in making it taste like the familiar ‘storebought’ variety.

  12. Rima says

    I love your site Zerrin :) About Jazariyye, Word is Arabic so the recipe should be too :) and we have it here in lebanon and its not carrots its pumpkin. The name is just coz its bright orange.

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