For those who don’t know, UAE has been home to me since the day I was born and to my parents, almost a decade before.So how come I have never tried cooking or baking anything influenced by my life in this region. Middle eastern sweets and desserts are delightfully simple and sweet. And I really mean SWEET. I have so many favourites in the list of Middle eastern sweets and memories attached to each of them, that choosing this one for the blog was a tough one. But then it struck me that I had a box of dates that were in the fridge and keeping in mind that my sister’s inlaws love our homemade biscuits I decided to incorporate both elements to develop a recipe of Middle eastern date filled biscuits or Date Ma’moul as it is locally called. Dates are an integral part of the middle eastern food palate owning to its easy availability in the region and nutrional value. In season, entire streets of the city have lines of date palms in full bloom and that definitely is a sight to see.Date palms in this region are highly revered due to its enormous uses. From the bark to its leaves and finally to its fruit, every part of the palm is utilised.
Date Ma’mouls are usually served during festivities and make a great sweet treat to serve for visiting guests and family ( and to spoil the in laws in my case). Trully the best part of my sister’s upcoming wedding is trying new recipes and dishes that we mostly do for the times they visit.
To make the ma’mouls however you will need a mould similar to the one in the picture below.
You will also find ma’moul moulds made of wood which you could look up online for. If nothing else, you could also make these by hand in your own favourite way. This is my recipe to these divine melt in the mouth date filled biscuits.
4 cups all purpose flour
A pinch of salt
2 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 cups clarified butter (ghee)
1/2 tsp baking powder
For the stuffing:
12 – 15 dates, seeds removed
1 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
1. We begin by preparing the stuffing. Dates can be store brought and the softer the better. Wrinkled and dry ones that are dark reddish in colour are usually the sweetest. In order to ease the blending process, I would suggest to buy soft dates. If you feel they are not soft enough, boil the dates in about 1 cup of water until soft enough to be blended. This will reduce the risk of damaged blades. Once soft, do not forget to slice open the dates and remove the seeds. Place into a food blender along with ghee to make the mixure softer and hence reduce the pressure on the blades.Blend until a soft paste is formed. Keep mixture aside.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, icing sugar, salt and baking powder.
3. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C.
4. To the dry flour mixure, add ghee or clarified butter and mould into a dough using your hands. Mould until the dough is smooth and soft in texture. Use a couple of teaspoons extra of ghee if needed.
5. If using the ma’moul mould, dust the ma’moul mould with corn starch so that the biscuit comes off easily after formation. Proceed to form the ma’mouls by placing a tbsp of the batter onto the mould, flattening gently around the edges of the mould. Then place a small amount of the date paste as a stuffing. Take another teaspoon of the batter and cover the base thus making the biscuit whole.
To remove the biscuit, turn the ma’moul mould and the biscuit should come off its mould. If not, turn over the mould and gently pat it against a steady surface. Place moulded biscuit on baking tray lined with baking paper.
If making these biscuits without a mould, simply take about a tbsp of the batter and flatten it between your palms. Place about 1 tsp of date paste as a filling and enclose biscuits by folding in the edges. Place on baking tray lined with baking paper. Using a fork gently flatten the top of the biscuit to create a design.
6. Place moulded biscuits into the pre heated oven and reduce heat to 160 degrees C. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges.
7. Place on a cooling rack for a couple of hours and dust with icing sugar before serving.
Hope you enjoy this creation as much as I have and my own little tribute to this wonderful cuisine. Hopefully I have the opportunity to try out some more Middle Eastern bakes soon! Until then, happy baking!
As for me I am flying out for my sister’s wedding! And so excited to be Maid of honor for the very first time!!! 😀
It will be a while before I return with my next post…until then have a lovely week ahead!!!