The shape and design of ma’amoul are made by pressing the filled dough into a special wooden mould and it is made during the Easter holiday and a few days before Eid. The aroma of baked ma’amoul fills the whole city of Damascus.
One of My favourite Syrian desserts is ma’amoul, baked semolina and flour dough filled with pistachio, date or walnut, and flavoured with orange blossom water.
- 250 g fine semolina
- 250 g plain flour
- 250 g ghee
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- ¼ cup milk, warm
- 1 tsp ground fennel
- 1 tsp ground mahlab
- 1 tbsp vanilla powder
- 4 tbsp sugar syrup (recipe below)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 2 tbsp orange blossom water
- 150 g raw pistachio, walnut or almond
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp orange blossom water
- 80 g date, pitted and crushed to for a paste
- Pinch of salt
- Icing sugar, to dust
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 4 hours or overnight
This recipe uses a ma'amoul mould to achieve this distinct shape and design. They can be purchased online.
- Combine the semolina and sugar in a large bowl.
- Mix the yeast with warm milk (or water) and mix until the yeast has dissolved.
- Melt the ghee on low heat then cool. Pour the cooled ghee into the semolina mix along with fennel, mahlab, vanilla and work with your fingers to form a dough and chill in the fridge for 2 hours (this is a must).
- Add the yeast and 3 tbsp of sugar syrup to the dough knead to form a softened dough and let it rest on the bench for an additional 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 200ºC.
- To make your fillings, combine your nut of choice and sugar in a food processor and blitz for 60 seconds. Add orange blossom and a pinch of salt and blitz for another 60 seconds. Then stir in the date paste.
- To assemble, place 1 tbsp of ma'amoul dough in the palm of your hand and flatten to a thickness of ½ an inch.
- Add about 1 tbsp of filling to the centre and then press the edges together to form a ball and close the dough.
- Dust the wooden mould in flour. Gently press the filled ball with your palm until it becomes even with the mould's surface. Tap the mould's edge on a board until the ma'amoul drops out.
- Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper leaving a few centimetres between each biscuit. Bake for 10-15 mins or until the dough becomes golden.
- Remove them from the tray to completely cool before dusting them in icing sugar.
• The amount this recipe yields depends on the size of your mould. Some moulds are larger or smaller.
• Ground mahlab (sometimes called mahlepi) is an aromatic-fruity spice. It is available from Middle Eastern and Greek grocery stores.