A Brief History of Persian Fairy Floss

Persian fairy floss sounds like stuff from dreams, but this cloud-like delicacy is as real as it gets. Known as “Pashmak” in Iran, this hand-pulled cotton candy closely resembles wispy silk threads that melt in the mouth when eaten. Pashmak is quite different from the typical cotton candy since it is a traditional sweet in Iranian cuisine which means “like wool”. Read on to know more about this candied delicacy.

Where Did Pashmak Come From?

This beloved traditional delicacy is believed to have originated from the city of Yazd in Iran. Persian fairy floss is deeply ingrained in Iranian cuisine that the process of making this delicacy was actually produced by home cooks in the area. Nowadays, pashmak is packed and sold in sweet shops all over Iran. It can be enjoyed as is while some would use it as garnish to other types of desserts and cocktails.

How is Pashmak Made?

Initially introduced by home cooks, pashmak is different from the typical cotton candy that we all came to love as kids. While cotton candy is made using melted sugar spun incredibly fast to produce thin sugary strands, Persian fairy floss involves more ingredients and a more hands-on process. This sweet delight consists of flour, sugar, and butter. The flour is initially roasted in butter to create a putty dough which is then combined with sugar that has been caramelised and cooled. Once it takes on a taffy-like texture and consistency, the mixture is then stretched, pulled, and twisted with precise movements to achieve a dense but wispy texture and appearance.

The process of pulling and stretching the taffy mixture is usually all done by hand, but it is recently made faster and easier with the use of a special machine. Confectioners typically alternate between hand stretching and using the machine to achieve that wispy silk texture of the Persian fairy floss.

How to Use Pashmak

You can enjoy Persian fairy floss as a delightful snack or as a dessert after meals. Typically, it is garnished with pistachios and sold ready at multiple sweet shops in Iran. While the traditional flavour of Persian fairy floss is a favourite amongst locals, it can also come in different flavours. It is typically flavoured using saffron, vanilla, pistachios, and sesame oil.

The applications of this sweet treat can range from being a garnish to certain cocktails and desserts. You can add Persian fairy floss on top of your cakes, pudding, ice creams and other baked treats for decoration.

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Jose Perron