These biscuits are popular across the Middle East and can be stuffed with a variety of fillings. You can use a ma’amoul mould for this recipe, available from Middle Eastern grocery stores, but it is also possible to shape the biscuits without one.
- ½ tsp dried yeast
- 240 g (1⅓ cup) coarse semolina (see Note)
- 240 g (2 cups) fine semolina
- ½ tbsp white sugar
- ½ tsp ground mahleb (see Note) or ground cardamom
- 225 g unsalted butter, melted
- 1½ tbsp orange blossom water (see Note)
- 1½ tbsp rosewater
- rice flour, to dust
- pure icing sugar, to serve
- 135 g (1¼ cups) roughly chopped walnuts
- 1½ tbsp white sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp rosewater
- 1 tbsp orange blossom water
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.
Chilling time overnight
Combine yeast and 60 ml (¼ cup) lukewarm water in a bowl and set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles.
Combine semolinas, sugar, mahleb and yeast mixture in a large bowl. Add butter, orange-blossom water and rosewater and mix until dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 180ºC.
To make filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Knead dough for 5 minutes or until smooth.
Line 2 oven trays with baking paper. Divide dough into 20 equal-sized pieces and roll into balls. Flatten balls in the palm of your hand and place 2 teaspoons of filling in the centre of each ball. Pinch dough to enclose filling. Place on oven tray and gently flatten. Alternatively, if using ma’amoul mould, dust mould with rice flour. Place a filled ball in mould and lightly press down to flatten. Tap mould to carefully remove dough and place on oven tray. Repeat with remaining filled balls.
Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden. Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar, to serve.
• Ground mahleb (sometimes called mahlepi) is an aromatic fruity spice. It is available from Middle Eastern and Greek grocery stores.
• Coarse semolina and orange-blossom waterare from specialist food shops.
Photography by Brett Stevens. Food preparation by Kirsten Jenkins. Food styling by Justine Poole.
As seen in Feast magazine, August 2014, Issue 34.