`Atar ~ Scented Simple Syrup

August 21st, 2011

This syrup is a traditional feature of Middle Eastern sweets and pastries. It’s essentially a sugar syrup that is used to bathe, soak or sprinkle on various sweets. It’s scented with orange blossom water, rose water or both. These distilled essences are widely available in the Middle East, and they are increasingly available in the West.

The syrup is very easy to make, and the proportions vary depending on desired thickness. Water and sugar are boiled with a little lemon juice to prevent it from crystallizing. The orange blossom water or rose water is stirred in at the end of cooking. Any sooner can weaken their aroma.

When the syrup is used for making pastries, it must be added when the pastries are already baked, fried or cooked. Cold syrup is added to hot pastries. It’s either poured onto the pastry or the pastry is dipped for a moment, then lifted out.

`Atar ~ Simple Syrup ~ Recipe to make about 3 cups

3 cups sugar

2½ cups cold water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 Tablespoons orange blossom water or rose water


  1. Dissolve sugar in water in heavy pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Bring to boil, add lemon juice and boil over medium-low heat for 12 minutes. Once syrup has begun to boil, do not stir again, as this makes the syrup cloudy.
  3. Add orange blossom water (or rose water), boil 30 seconds longer. When cool, the consistency should be similar to thin honey.
  4. Cool and store in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for several weeks.
  1. Tazzy
    January 23rd, 2013 at 15:14 | #1

    Do you know that most people use start or ittar on themselves -. You can get bitter or sweet ones that smell lush

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      February 6th, 2013 at 16:53 | #2

      Hmmm Are you writing about a type of burning incense? You’ve got my interest piqued… the ‘atar I’m writing about here is a sugary syrup used in baking pastries.

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