Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ma'amoul - the middle-eastern pastry


Easter brings back great memories from my youth in Lebanon; sunny holidays, church memories, family visits, and of course ma’amoul baking. 
Ma’amoul is a middle-eastern pastry filled with walnuts, pistachios or dates. It’s a pastry made only for Easter. Molds are used to create those pastries. In fact, the design on the mold traditionally indicates which filling the cookie has, so you can choose between them without having to take a bite first. 

I remember we used to gather one week before Easter, mom used to make tons of ma’amoul and we used to spend long hours doing them. I loved making those pastries, handling the dough perfumed with rose water. Until today, I was only a helper, it was fun to fill the molds and knock them out on the baking pan. This year, I decided I wanted to make my own maa’moul. I got the recipe from mom while I was in Lebanon but I was dreading the fact of doing them alone. Well, I enjoyed making them, and they turned out really delicious. The first thing I did when I removed them from the oven and sprinkled them with icing sugar was to call mom and tell her: “I made it!!”. She was really proud of me, which made me even happier! So happy Easter everybody and enjoy the holiday!

Ingredients (around 70): 2 cups semolina, coarsely ground (smeed) - ½ cup semolina, finely ground (ferkha) - 1 cup (250g) soft butter - ½ cup sugar - ½ cup milk - ½ tsp active dry yeast - ½ tsp mahleb* - 1 tbsp rosewater - 1 tbsp orange flower water - confectioner's sugar for dusting

Filling: 2 cups chopped walnuts or unsalted pistachios - ¼ cup sugar - 1 tbsp rose or orange flower water

In a large bowl, place the semolina, the fine semolina, the sugar, the milk, the yeast, the mahleb and the butter. Rub the mixture in your fingers until it's flaky. Cover the bowl with a towel and and it let rest 12 hours.
After 12 hours, use your hands to soften the semolina mixture adding 1 tbsp rose water and 1 tbsp orange flower water. Mix to form a ball that is soft and somewhat sticky but manageable. Set aside.

Prepare the filling: Simply mix everything up well in a food processor. Put the filling in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Using your hands, form walnut-sized balls of dough. Flatten each piece of dough onto the palm of your hand, and push it till it's about a 3-inch circle. Place 1 ½  teaspoons of the nut filling in the center of the dough. Bring the edges of the dough up with your fingertips and press them together to seal the filling. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Press each filled ball into the ma'amoul mold to give it a decorated appearance. Then tap the cookies out onto the work area with a sharp firm hit to the top of the mold.
Prepare each one in this way and place them neatly in rows, on a greased/parchment paper lined baking tray.

Place the tray in a preheated oven at 350°F and bake for about 20 minutes. When they turn lightly golden, remove them from the oven and let them cool. Dust them with confectioner's sugar.

* Mahleb powder (ground black cherry pits) is available in Middle Eastern specialty markets.
 
Ma'amoul
Ingrédients (environ 70): 2 tasses de semoule ordinaire (smeed) - ½ tasse de semoule fine (ferkha) - 250 g de beurre mou - ½ tasse de sucre - ½ tasse de lait - ½ càc de levure instantanée - ½ càc de mahlep - 1 càs d'eau de rose - 1 càs d'eau de fleurs d'oranger - sucre glace pour la finition 

Garniture: 2 tasses de noix ou de pistaches hachés - ¼ tasse de sucre - 1 càs d'eau de rose or d'eau de fleurs d'oranger

Dans un grand bol, placez la semoule, la semoule fine, le sucre, le lait, la levure, le mahlep et le beurre. Frottez le mélange entre vos doigts. Couvrez d'un linge de cuisine et laissez reposer 12 heures.
Après 12 heures, pétrissez la pâte à la main pour ramollir le mélange de semoule en ajoutant 1 c. à soupe d'eau de rose et 1 c. à soupe d'eau de fleurs d'oranger. Mélangez jusqu'à obtenir une masse souple assez molle mais non collante. Réservez. 

Préparez la garniture: Mixez les ingrédients de la farce dans un robot. Placez-la dans un petit bol et réservez.  

Préchauffer le four à 180°C. Avec vos mains, formez des boules de la grosseur d'une noix. Aplatissez chaque morceau de pâte sur la paume de votre main, et avec le pouce creusez un trou au centre. Remplissez le trou d' 1 ½ c. à thé de la garniture aux noix. Refermez la pâte sur la garniture, soudez bien les bords. Répétez l'opération avec la pâte et la garniture restantes. Mettez la boule dans le moule à ma'amoul, pressez-la pour l'aplatir et réaliser une empreinte. Démoulez en tapant le moule légèrement sur votre surface de travail.   

Disposez les ma'amouls sur une plaque à pâtisserie légèrement beurrée.  

Faites les cuire au four préhauffé à 180ºC jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient légèrement dorés, environ 20 mn. Retirez-les du four, laissez-les refroidir et saupoudrez-les de sucre glace.

34 comments:

  1. They look so cute! I like the mould too!

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  2. they look delish!! I may have to try them!!




    http://nycstylecannoli.blogspot.com/

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  3. I have always wanted to use mahleb in a baking recipe...I bet these are super..They are very pretty! What kind of mold did you use?

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  4. Ps..ooops itts a Ma'amoul mold?..How can i find on in USA?

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  5. denise @ quickies on the dinner tableApril 3, 2010 at 6:02 AM

    I love Ma'amoul! Especially pistachio ma'amoul! Your cookies are so pretty! When I make these, I shape them by hand, so I can't get such beautiful patterns on them - usually just diamond or oval shapes :( Wish I could find the moulds!

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  6. The mold I used I got them from Lebanon, it's the pistachio mold. You can check this site for the maamoul molds:
    http://www.daynasmarket.com/kitchenware.html

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  7. Beautiful and delightful Middle Eastern confections! Thanks for link where to find that mold.

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  8. j'en raffole! j'en mangerai sans me faire prier! j'adore ça!

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  9. These sound wonderful to Western ears. I've never before heard of these cookies/pastries and I am, of course, very curious as to their taste. Is there a mailorder or e-trade source for the molds?
    Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

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  10. Cherine...thanks for the molds site..lots of other goodies there tooo:)

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  11. These are lovely and I can imagine it must be delicious. Rose water and orange flower water is seldom used in the west but it gives such a wonderful subtle fragrance to bake goods. I also like the pistachios in the filling....yummy!

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  12. Elles sont très belles tes petites pâtissieries!

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  13. Such a sweet story about you and your mom! Your Ma'amoul pastries look wonderful. The texture on the top really adds to the presentation. Happy Easter!! xo

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  14. Hmmmm, just said my comment was published, but I don't see it anywhere. Anyway these pastries look awesome! Happy Easter.

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  15. Hello Cherine~ ~ It's so nice to meet you and it will be interesting trading recipes with you. These look wonderful I can almost smell them baking. Black cherry pits ground they must be heaven!
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

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  16. Wow, Chicho! These are fabulous. Even the molds you use for these must be really beautiful. Loved this post!

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  17. Cherine, it is always a pleasure and honour to learn more about your cuisine. These look gorgeous.

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  18. Wow Cherine I feel happy again to meet you and find your blog when I see this recipe. This used to be my favorite pastry when I was a child. Not now because I can't fnd it anywhere. I am originally from Mersin, south of Turkey and there was a vendor in our neighborhood just selling these (we call them mamul)and I used to buy very often. His were filled with walnut-sugar only. Then I had to leave my hometown and when I was back, he wasn't there. Mom doesn't know its recipe. I searched for it for some time but couldn't find how to make them. So I'm very glad to see it here. It seems we have lots of common dishes and this one is one of the dishes we (Turks) learnt from you.

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  19. Hi Cherine
    Happy Easter. Great recipe. It's very similar to my mother's. She uses yeast and I omitted that this year and I found that it made no difference. I think yeast is usefull when you have a sweet and wet dough.

    Fouad

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  20. I always love to learn a new pastry from a new culture. Thanks fro sharing.

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  21. Coucou!
    Merci beaucoup pour ton passage sur mon blog, ça m'a permis de découvrir ton magnifique blog! ;)
    Bravo pour ces petits biscuits ils ont l'air délicieux!
    Bisous & Bonne journée

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  22. So pretty! I love the shape!

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  23. Awww, these are so pretty, wonderfully delicate. I love the swirls and how the sugar makes them pop. :-)

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  24. I've never seen anything like these. They certainly sound and look terrific.

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  25. Scrumptious cookies, such a beautiful shape!

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  26. I hear about ma'amoul a lot, but I have never tried them:( Maybe I should make my own. Thank you for the recipe. They remind me somewhat of shekerbura we make for Novruz (spring holiday) in Azerbaijan.

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  27. Your ma'mool look perfect and tasty! I did not have the courage to make them this year! My usual helper Phoebe was busy! and I don't like to make them by myself!
    You and I share the same memories, except it was my teta who would make them and her proportions were opposite, fine semolina and a bit of coarse, I think!

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  28. Your Ma'amouls are fabulous! That's such a delicate and delicious treat!

    Cheers,

    rosa

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  29. How interesting! I LOVE semolina and I've never seen cookies/pastry made with it. I bet they taste delicious.

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  30. Beautiful pictures for a great recipe!! i have been wanting to make ma'amoul for the longest time but had not time to do it. i love your photos, they look great and very tempting :)
    thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment...glad we found each others blogs :)
    have a great afternoon.

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  31. Al Massih Kam ... Hakan Kam
    Sorry for my belated wishes...
    Maamoul look delicious, and they look awesome fluffy i can tell from the ingredients...
    this is the first year I didnt make maamoul, only kaak, I made different kind of breads.

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  32. Je pense que c'est un premier commentaire pour moi ! Et pourtant je viens souvent consulter ton blog qui m'éclaire sur les recettes que mes parents (d'origine Syrienne et Libanaise) m'ont un peu transmises approximativement (ma mère me donne toujours des mesures en disant "un peu de ça", "environ 2 tasses"... car, elle, prépare ces délicieux plats sans recette depuis toujours !)

    En tout cas, je veux vraiment apprendre à cuisiner tous ces plats et ton blog est un peu une mine d'or pour moi !!! Alors, merci de faire vivre la VRAIE BONNE cuisine Libanaise et merci pour ton beau blog !

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  33. Was just planning to make mamoul from a recipe I have been treasuring for months, which I got from a dear frd's mother. Duh! but realized I need to buy the molds! Yours and her recipe r slightly different. I shd try both once I get hold of the molds :D

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