Tunisian Guizadas (Flourless Pistachio Cookies)

Tina Wasserman
Recipe by
Tina Wasserman

According to food author Claudia Roden, guizadas are a specialty of the Livornese Jewish community in Tunisia. Italian Jews once traded goods with their brethren in Tunisia through Livorno, a major Italian commercial port. Many Livornese Jews settled in Tunisia to finance the ransom of Jewish hostages taken by pirates who patrolled the rich trade routes.

No flour is used in this confection, so Tunisian guizadas make an ideal Passover dessert.

1 1⁄4 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1⁄2 cup extra fine sugar or 1⁄3 cup wildflower honey
1 Tablespoon imported orange-blossom water
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1⁄8 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. Chop the pistachios into very small pieces, either by pulsing a processor on and off 50 times or rocking a large chef’s knife back and forth over the nuts.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to thoroughly combine.
  4. Line mini muffin pans with paper liners. Drop 1 Tablespoon of nut mixture into each cup. You will have about 18-20 cups.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the guizada tops are slightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove the guizadas from the oven and immediately turn the filled papers on their sides to prevent gummy bottoms from the steam. Cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then store in an airtight container. 

    To enhance the flavors of orange blossom and almond in the cookie, serve at room temperature the next day. Cookies may be kept for a week or frozen until needed.

Additional Notes
  • When using a food processor to chop nuts, always pulse the machine. Otherwise, the nuts will circulate on the bottom of the bowl, creating nut butter.
  • Try to make recipes containing fruit or strong flavoring a day in advance. The flavors will ripen and you’ll love the result!