Eid treats: Palestinian chef Suzanne Husseini shares maamoul recipe

2020-05-22 | Since 4 Month

Derived from the Arabic term aamala – meaning, to make – the maamoul pastry is a quintessential Levantine treat served for special occasions, such as Eid and Easter. Husseini has provided Arab News readers with a recipe of three-flavored sorts.

“It takes a little time to prepare and make these pastries, but it is well worth it,” she said. “I usually make a big batch, bake them and freeze some in an airtight container. They keep well in the freezer.

“I have given instructions to decorate the pastries with the decorative pinchers. After a couple of attempts you will get the hang of it. Alternatively, you can use special molds that can be found in Middle Eastern supermarkets.”

To virtually cook with Husseini, follow her on @SuzanneHusseini, where she is always cooking up something tasty in her kitchen.


Makes approximately 100 pastries

1 kg (6 cups) fine semolina

2 tablespoons mahlab, ground

3 cups clarified butter, melted

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups full-fat milk, lukewarm

Pistachio filling

1 cup pistachios, chopped

5 tablespoons caster sugar

1 tablespoon rosewater

1 tablespoon orange blossom water

Date filling

2 cups dates, chopped and pits removed

1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon melted butter

Walnut filling

1 cup walnuts, chopped medium fine

5 tablespoons caster sugar

2 tablespoons orange blossom water

Zest of half an orange

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Prepare the three fillings by mixing the ingredients for each in a bowl and set aside.

For the date filling, knead the dates with the butter until soft. Break off a piece and roll into a log about 10 cm long. Bring the ends together to form a ring shape of about a 4 cm diameter. Proceed until all are done and set aside.

In a large bowl put the semolina, sugar and mahlab and mix well. Pour in the melted butter and mix in with your fingertips coating completely. Sprinkle on the yeast and sugar to incorporate. Gradually pour in the slightly warmed milk and mix until it forms a dough. It should be soft and pliable, and not sticky. You may not use all of the milk.

For the nut-filled maamoul, take a piece of dough of about the size of a walnut and cup it in one hand. With your thumb poke a hole in the center to make a well. Using your thumb on the inside and your index finger on the outside, work the dough upwards to thin it out gradually into a shell.

Place a teaspoonful of the nut filling in the well. Bring the edges together to cover the filling completely. Smooth out and turn over the filled pastry. With the pincher proceed to decorate the shell without piercing and exposing the filling. Make your pistachio-filled ones oval and your walnut-filled ones round. Place on a baking sheet.

For the date-filled maamoul, take a walnut-sized piece of dough and flatten in the palm of your hand. Place a prepared date ring in the center and fold the edges over to enclose completely toward the center. Follow the shape of the date ring and pinch the center to make a hole in the middle. It will look like a filled doughnut. Turn the seam side down. Grab hold of the pastry in one hand and proceed to use the pincher to decorate. Place on a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 190 C.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. The maamoul should only be slightly colored.

Remove and cool completely before dusting with icing sugar.

Store cooled pastries in an airtight container without the icing sugar.


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