Most of us are likely familiar with tahini as an ingredient in hummus or in a sauce for falafel. It has many uses in the savory kitchen, but it can also be used in sweet dishes. This recipe is adapted from the Hempstead, NY Greek Orthodox church's community cookbook: The Complete Book of Greek Cooking (1990).
Makes one 9 x 12 baking pan. This is a pretty dense "cake" (it's more like a bar cookie), so you'll likely want to cut it into small 2" x 2" pieces.
Make sure your tahini is fresh: Taste it, do you want to eat it? Then it's fine for cooking. Tahini can go "off" or turn rancid pretty easily. Store your tahini in the fridge to ensure longer life.
1 cup (12 ounces by weight) tahini
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons brandy or bourbon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup (6.75 ounces) flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup orange juice
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
Preheat your oven to 350. Prepare a 9" x 12" pan: grease the bottom and sides and line the pan with parchment or waxed paper.
Beat the tahini with a mixer to aerate it a little (it won't fluff up like butter would, just soften it up). Pour in the sugar and keep beating to combine. Add the baking soda to the brandy and then pour the mixture into the tahini. Beat to blend.
Whisk together the flour, cinnamon and salt.
Beat in the flour mixture and orange juice alternately to the tahini. When all the flour and orange juice have been added, add the fruit and nuts. The batter will be very thick.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes until deep golden brown. Cool in the pan on a rack. When cool, cut into small pieces and dust with confectioner's sugar if desired.