The good part of this event is, we get not only to meet new bloggers but also get to know about new recipes. Umm has bought in this delicious recipe from Algeria. She loves to make this for her husband during Ramadan. The aroma that fills her kitchen while making ‘Rolled Makrout’ lifts her spirits and brings back the memories of her country back home…
Being a revert and married my husband’s home country Algeria is my biggest culinary influence. Especially during the month of Ramadan when all he wants is a taste of home.
Every year right before and during Ramadan he will ask me to make the same three Algerian / North African sweets: Tcherek – date or nut stuffed crescent cookies, Qalb el louz – honey soaked semolina and almond dessert and Makrout (fried) – diamond shaped date stuffed semolina cookies.
Makrout being his ‘favourite favourite’ but me being kind of bored making the same sweets over and over again. I tried this rolled version and it brought a little fun back into the kitchen. Makrout roulé as it is known in French has the same irresistible taste and texture as its diamond-shaped sister: sweet from sticky date paste and honey, mildly flavoured with cinnamon and orange blossom water with a firm crust and soft interior. We are all familiar with the technique for rolling cinnamon rolls, right? well it’s the same technique used here.
- 400 grams coarse (I used extra coarse) semolina
- 80 ml unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 60 ml orange blossom water
- 100 ml water, plus more as needed
- 200 grams date paste
- 2 tablespoon softened butter
- ½ tablespoon orange blossom water
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (cassia)
- For frying:
- Sunflower oil
- 340 grams runny honey
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- Measure semolina into a large mixing bowl. Either by hand or with a fork mix in the butter until each grain of semolina is coated in butter. Cover bowl and set aside for 30 mins. Meanwhile prepare the filling.
- In a medium size mixing bowl add all the filling ingredients and mix, again by hand or with a wooden spoon. Set aside.
- Return to the semolina, gradually sprinkle in the floral and regular water stirring by hand (do not knead) until you have a smooth soft dough. Cover and set aside for a few minutes while you prepare your working area: lightly oil a work surface and have a small bowl of water at the ready for your hands and the dough if on the dry side.
- Roll out your semolina dough into a rectangle about 27 x 21 cm. Place your date paste on top of the semolina and roll out to approximately the same size, it’s ok to leave a border.
- From one of the shorter sides and with wet hands, delicately roll up. (Same method as used in cinnamon rolls etc.) Pinch the seam together and roll back and forth to ensure seal. You will end up with a log about 32 cm long.
- Using a ruler and a sharp knife (preferably serrated) divide into around 16 pieces – cut every 2 cm. Set Makrout aside on a baking tray or large plate.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 ½ cm sunflower oil until it reaches a temperature of about 180 C. whilst the oil is warming, in a small saucepan gently warm the honey with the orange blossom water, remove from heat and set aside close by.
- Have a large plate with some kitchen towel ready to drain the oil and a large sieve or colander set over a bowl. Fry the Makrout in batches of no bigger than 5, cook until deep golden brown on both sides, turning once or twice. Remove from oil, drain on kitchen towel then into the honey to soak whilst you fry another batch.
- Gently turn the Makrout in the honey if not fully submerged. Once given a few minutes to soak and your next batch is ready to come out of the oil, remove and place in sieve / colander for a few minutes to drain any excess honey. If you have a very sweet-tooth you can place Makrout directly in a container without draining, but do not cover until they are fully cooled.
- Allow to fully cool then cover and store in a cool dry place. Makrout will keep for up to 5 days and possibly longer when stored correctly.
Thank you Umm Hamza for being part of this event and introducing this yum recipe.
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