Makroud – Date and Sesame Biscuits

Makroud and Qamar el Deen

I wanted to make a traditional Ramadan dessert this month, a recipe that called for mahleb, which is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of the St Lucie Cherry (Prunus mahaleb). The stones are cracked to extract the seed kernel, which is ground to a powder before it is used. It adds a lovely flavor of bitter almond and cherry to breads, cakes and biscuits.

I found a perfect date and sesame biscuit recipe called Makroud that is made by Israeli Muslims and Palestinians. There are several variations of Makroud that are also made in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, but this version is not as sweet.

Mr BT and I would like to wish all of our Muslim friends Ramadan Kareem.

Makroud

Makroud – Date and Sesame Biscuits

Yield: 70 to 80 biscuits

(Date and Sesame Biscuits)

Adapted recipe from the Safadi Family of Nazareth in The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey by Janna Gur

For the dough:

500g (3-1/2 cups) whole wheat flour

15g (1/2 oz) fresh yeast

240ml (1 cup) corn oil

120ml (1/2 cup) olive oil

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1/2 tablespoon mahleb, freshly ground in a mortar

220ml (1 cup) lukewarm water

For the filling:

500g (1lb 2oz) pressed pitted dates

60ml (1/4 cup) corn oil

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch ground cloves

For the coating:

450g (1lb) sesame seeds

For the dough:

Place the flour, crumbled yeast and spices in a large bowl. Add the corn and olive oils and stir until well combined. Gradually add the water and knead the dough for 2-3 minutes into a soft smooth dough. Set aside.

For the filling:

Mix the pressed dates with the oil and spices until it becomes a soft, malleable paste.

To assemble:

Divide the dough into balls the size of a fist and divide the date paste into the same number of balls. Both the dough and the date balls may be dripping with oil: this is normal.

Preheat the oven to 220C (425F).

On a large work surface, sprinkle a generous amount of sesame seeds. Flatten a ball of dough into a round the size of a pita. Flatten out a date ball and place it on top of the dough. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and turn the dough over and roll out to the size of a dinner plate. The sesame seeds will prevent the dates from sticking to the work surface. Turn the dough over again, date side up and roll the dough to form a log shape. Repeat with the remainder.

Cut the logs into 5cm-wide (2-inch) biscuits and place on baking sheets. You do not have to place them too far apart because they do not spread. Bake for 10 minutes until they are golden brown. Serve slightly cooled or store up to a month in a sealed container.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2010/08/16/makroud-date-and-sesame-biscuits/

Welcome to my world!

This is my first post on my first blog. I am excited to start this new blog and hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride as I show you my home that I love.

Most of this website will be about my food adventures, but I will also share the beauty of my country.

Israel is a country of contrasts. We have the mountains and forests in the North, the Mediterranean Sea on the West coast, the Dead Sea in the East, the Negev desert and the Red Sea in the South.

We are the third largest flower exporter in the world and grow some of the best produce in the world.

Flowers

I will show you how I cook with the wonderful bounty we have here.

Shuk HaCarmel

Tonight is the evening of Purim and I just returned from the reading of the story of Esther. I am making hamantaschen, which are three-cornered biscuits filled with a variety of fillings. The standards are apricot, prune and poppyseed fillings. But, I like to experiment with other fillings. My usual fillings are apricot lekvar and date-walnut filling. This year I am adding my take on mincemeat and cranberry-orange filling.

Hamantaschen Fillings

My hamantaschen recipe is from Claudia Roden’s, The Jewish Book of Food. I like this dough because it is more of a flaky pastry than the crunchy cookie ones you find in the bakery. These are more delicate.

I also like the fact that this recipe only contains 2 tablespoons of sugar. I do not add any added sugar to my fillings. I think they are sweet enough.

Hamantaschen

Hamantaschen

Yield: 20 hamentashen

Dough

250g (1-3/4 cup) flour

A pinch of salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 or 3 drops of vanilla extract

150g (5oz) unsalted butter or margarine, cut into small cubes

1 egg yolk

2-3 teaspoons milk or water, if necessary

Egg wash (1 egg + a teaspoon of water)

Mix the flour, salt sugar and vanilla extract. Add the butter or margarine and mix in with your fingers to resemble cornmeal. Mix in the egg yolk and form the dough into a ball. Try not to overwork the dough. Cover with plastic film and put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into four parts, roll one part at a time to about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick. Cut circles with a 3-inch (7-1/2 cm) round cookie or American biscuit cutter.

Hamantaschen Dough

Place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of the dough and pinch three sides together to form a triangle. Make sure that you pinch the ends well. Place them on a cookie sheet, preferably with a silpat liner and brush the dough with the egg wash.

Hamantaschen Jewels

Bake at 375 F (190C) for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool on the tray for about 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2007/03/03/hello-world-2/

 

Apricot Lekvar

Yield: 2 cups

200g (2 cups) dried California (I prefer these sour apricots) or Mediterranean apricots

1/2 cup orange juice or water

Cook over low heat until very tender and most of the liquid has reduced. Cool and process in the food processor until smooth.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2007/03/03/hello-world-2/

 

Cranberry-Orange Filling

Yield: 2 cups

200g (2 cups) dried cranberries

100g (1 cup) golden raisins

1 medium orange, seeded, unpeeled and cut into quarters

1/2 cup water

Process the orange quarters in food processor until finely chopped.

In a saucepan, add all of the ingredients, including the chopped orange and cook on a low flame until the cranberries and raisins are tender. Cool and process to a chunky paste.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2007/03/03/hello-world-2/

Date-Walnut Filling

Yield: 2 cups

250g (2 cups) date filling

(you can find this a Middle Eastern store) or chopped dates that have been cooked over a low flame with water to form a paste.

200g (2 cups) walnuts

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground clove

Warm water

Place the date filling, walnuts, cinnamon and clove in the food processor and add 2 tablespoons of warm water. Mix until smooth. You can add more water, if necessary. The filling should be thick.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2007/03/03/hello-world-2/

 

 

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