Don’t worry, it is entirely edible and is not real silk. Pashmak means ‘like wool.’ It is a finely spun sugary treat a specialty from Iran, just like the quintessential cotton candy. It is, however, far finer than the cotton candy and involves a labor-intensive process.
Pashmak – A Fairy Floss
Very simple ingredients like Sugar, Sesame Oil, and flour are used to prepare caramelized sugar. This caramelized sugar is cooled to achieve a chewy texture. It is then dipped in flour and stretched into a large ring using a pastry scraper or bare hands. The large ring is folded and pulled again. The process goes on for a long time until thin and delicate threads of sugar are formed. When the strands turn light and fluffy, they are cut-up and packed.
Pashmak is available in several flavors like orange blossom, rose water, cardamom, pistachio, and saffron.
Traditionally, home cooks prepared Pashmak; however, over a while, the skills, time, and space factors have limited the expertise to only professional confectioners. The choreographed twisting and pulling of the sugary treat requires professional expertise.
Pashmak originated in the Iranian city of Yazd. It can be eaten by its own or used for garnishing ice creams, puddings, and cakes.
So on your next trip to Iran, don’t forget to try on this delectable ‘silky’ dessert.