This month’s featured recipe is a delicious filled pastry from Lebanon called Maamoul. These molded cookies feature a rose and orange blossom water flavored dough filled with date and nut blends. Each cookie is formed by hand and pressed into a mold which is then wacked on a table or counter to release the cookie which now has a beautiful design imprinted from the mold. A Maamoul mold has indentations of various shapes, size, and design. Each design signifies a different filling.
4 c semolina
½ c sugar
1 t mahlab (spice – available through online shopping or Mediterranean grocers)
1 ¼ butter, melted
¼ c rose water
1/8 c orange blossom water
⅙ teaspoon of yeast
¼ cup of warm water
2 c pistachio or walnut
¼ c sugar
1 T of rose water
1 T orange blossom water
1 ¼ c dates
1 T butter
2 T water
Mix the semolina, sugar, mahlab, and melted butter into a course dough. Mix the yeast and warm water with the rose and orange blossom waters and knead into the dough until it becomes smooth. Form the dough into a ball and put it in a bowl covered with a damp towel. Let the dough rest for 8 hours.
While the dough is resting make the fillings. For the nut filling, put the nuts, sugar, and waters in a food processor and pulse a few times until you get a chunky mix. For the date filling, put the ingredients in a food processor and blend until it forms a paste, adding extra water if necessary.
After the dough has set, take 1-2 tablespoons dough and make a flat disc big enough to hang over the sides of the mold. Press the dough disc in the mold, fill with 1-2 teaspoons filling and fold the excess dough over the filling to cover the top of the dough. Turn the mold over and bang it on your worktable hard enough to cause the molded cookie to fall out of the mold.
Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. Dust the cookies with powdered sugar while they are still warm so that the sugar melts into a glaze.
Recipe and photo credit: Georgia Reader