Maamoul

Maamoul is a traditional Lebanese dessert that is made especially for Easter. Each pastry is filled with the most delicious chewy filling which varies between dates, pistachios or walnuts. Maamoul is made in the shape of domed balls, ovals or flattened cookies as shown in the image, made in special wooden molds each designed and shaped differently, you can choose the filling you desire from its shape. Usually and traditionally the molds shaped maamoul are prepared on a special occasion like Easter. They can also be decorated by hand or Maamoul Mad which means in a tray as shown in the images below. For years this delicious and amazing sweet was always prepared for hours, making big varieties of beautifully shaped maamoul few days ahead of Easter and the cause to be served for family and guests for quite a while after the holiday.

I am representing in my blog all kind of maamoul in molds, by hand and in a tray in case the molds aren't convenient.

This recipe is very easy, the only thing is the waiting time for the dough to rest. At the end you get the same delicious and distinctive taste.

Resting time: few hours or overnight

Prep. time: 1 hour and 30 mins

Cooking time: 25 mins

Serves: 10 to 12

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups regular or coarse semolina

3 cups fine semolina

1/4 cup sugar

21/4 cups unsalted butter

1/2 tsp mahlab

5 small rocks of mastic pounded and mixed with 1/2 tsp sugar (if available)

1/2 tsp yeast

1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 cup rose water

1/2 cup orange blossom water

1/2 cup icing sugar

The stuffing:

2 cups of coarsely grounded walnut

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tbsp rose water

1 1/2 tbsp orange blossom water

Pistachios: the same as walnuts

Dates stuffing:

2 cups pitted dates

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp orange blossom flower

1 tsp rose water


PREPARATION: in a large bowl mix the coarse and the fine semolina, sugar, mahlab and the pounded mastic mixture. Melt the butter over low heat then add it to the powder mixture. Mix well with your hands, let it rest for few hours or overnight. After resting put the yeast,1 tsp of sugar and the warm water in a cup, cover and let it rest for 20 mins. While waiting for the yeast to rise, break the semolina and butter mixture with your hands until there is no more lumps. Now add the mixture of yeast, the rose water and orange blossom water, knead very well until you have a soft dough or paste. You can do the same procedure using a processor. Before you start working with the moulds, use the round shape for walnuts, the oval one for pistachios and the date one is the flattened one.

For the dates filling blend the pitted dates with the melted butter in a processor until you have a soft paste. For the walnuts or pistachios blend mix the nuts, the sugar, the rose water and orange blossom water.

To make maamoul using a small size mould, form a little ball of dough the size of a walnut and make a hole in it with your finger as shown in the image, fill it with a heaped tablespoon of your desired stuffing. Close the ball gently and firmly then form the shape you want between round and oval depends the mould you're working with. After closing the dough press it inside the mould making sure the closure side is upward and the dough filled all the space. Push it gently otherwise the dough will stick.

Turn it upside down on a cutting board covered with a plastic sheet by tapping the mould tip and the beautifully decorated maamoul will drop out. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees then bake for 12 to 15 mins from the bottom or until light golden then few mins from the top. for walnut and pistachios, sprinkle icing sugar on top as soon as you take them out of the oven. If you are using dates for stuffing, they should be formed into similar size balls before filling them inside the dough. if you don't prefer sugar in the stuffing, you can add coarsely chopped walnuts or pistachios to the dates stuffing.

To prepare Maamoul Mad "in a tray' flatten and press half the dough into a medium size non stick tray using your hands until you cover the bottom. Prepare the filling you desire, for walnuts mix all the ingredients together very well with a spoon. Scatter the walnut filling on top covering the dough. Flatten the rest of the dough between two plastic kitchen sheets using a rolling pin then flip it on top of the filling then press gently. Cut into square or diamond shape pieces then decorate the top using a knife or the handle of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 mins, then from the top until you get the dark Golden Color.

Here is an image showing the form of the moulds and how it is done and and the wonderful shape you get. This is a maamoul cookie stuffed with dates.

I have had this amazing recipe for many years and I am really happy now to share it with you.

For me preparing maamoul is really an art work and enjoyable. If you give it a try and you will find out the pleasure in preparing maamoul and you are going to love the exquisite taste and shape.

ENJOY!!!