I had a really good time over the weekend, what with brunch on Sunday at St. Andrews Restaurant on W. 46th St. NY, and the making of Maamoul, a delicious, exotic Middle Eastern pastry filled with dates (or pistachios or walnuts). I got all the necessary ingredients at Sahadi's - semolina flour, dates, rose water, and orange water and purchased a wooden maamoul mold there as well.
It's my first Middle Eastern pastry venture so the whole process was quite new, what with using semolina flour and the maamoul mold. The first part, mixing the dough, is pretty easy; it becomes a bit finicky once one has to stuff and shape the cookie in the mold.
This is the recipe I used;it's from Gourmet Sleuth:
Basic Mamoul Recipe I N G R E D I E N T S 1/2 cup solid shortening 8 tablespoons or 4 ounces butter 1 cup flour, all purpose 2 cups semolina 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking power 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon rose flower water and 1 tablespoon orange flower water 7 tablespoons water walnut, pistachio or date filling confectioners sugar
I N S T R U C T I O N S Do not expect the dough to be cohesive but it will be damp enough to form into balls to pack into the cookie molds. This recipe needs to be started a day ahead.
Melt shortening and butter together or use all butter if you wish a richer cookie. cool slightly. Mix flour, semolina, salt, baking powder and sugar together. Rub melted shortening into dough with fingertips until it is like fine soft meal.
Cover bowl and let it rest overnight. Combine flower waters with 7 tablespoons water and sprinkle over the dough. Toss lightly with a fork to distribute liquid evenly. Mix until just combined, like pie dough. (another person says to knead the dough well).
Dust maamoul molds well with flour. Invert and tap gently to remove excess flour. Estimate the amount of dough need to fill maamoul mold and make a ball of dough. Flatten it out slightly and place a good tablespoon of filling in center. Close dough around filling to cover it. Pack ball into mold. Level off cookie even with the lip of the mold. Be sure you have not revealed filling or it will stick to the pan as it bakes.
Tap cookies out onto the work area with a sharp firm hit to the top of the mold. Transfer cookies to baking sheet with a spatula. Bake at 350 F until slightly brown around the edge (about 25 minutes). Cool. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving.
The oven temperature and baking time are adjustments I made; the recipe recommended far too short a time.
I'm rather delighted with them; now it's onward to nut-filled maamoul.
I checked out a lot of recipes and information on this cookie.Phoenician Gourmet is the best, with very clear instructions, realistic baking times, and fascinating information about the tradition of this delightful cookie.