Natif (Nut Brittle)

Thicken dissolved sugar or honey on a quiet fire to the degree that when a piece of it is taken and cooled, it breaks and shatters. Then knead what you want of sesame, walnuts, pistachios, almonds and poppy seeds with it. It cools and is taken up. Kitab Wasf al-Atima al-Mutada Chapter X (The Description of Familiar Foods)

Natif is either a nut brittle, as here, or a nut studded nougat-like sweet (Nasrallah, 2009, 599).


300g caster sugar
1 cup mixed nuts (I like a mix of almonds and pistachios)
100mL water


  1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water, and stir over a low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then stop stirring.
  2. When the sugar syrup comes to the boil, brush the sides of the pan down occasionally with a natural bristled brush, and check the temperature regularly.
  3. When the syrup reaches the hard crack stage (149 – 154°C), add the nuts and stir well.
  4. Pour the mix onto an oiled marble slab, or oiled earthenware plate (not melamine or plastic). When it’s cooled completely, break the mass up and store.


  • If making this on a hot day, adding the nuts when the syrup reaches the soft ball stage (112 – 116°C) will help the cooking process. Make sure you stir the mix occasionally or the nuts will stick and burn. You can use raw caster sugar for this if you like, to get a more caramel looking toffee setting for the nuts. Raw caster sugar is also less likely to crystallise badly if making on a hot day.


Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Nasrallah, Nawal (2009) Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens
Rodinson, Maxime Medieval Arab Cookery

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