1 kilogram fine semolina
300g butter, softened or ghee melted
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp mastic ground with 1/2 teaspoon sugar
½ tsp ground mahlab
1 tsp vanilla
¾ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp. yeast
1 tsp sugar
½ cup of water
½ cup orange blossom water (can be replaced with water or milk)
½ cup of rosewater(can be replaced with water or milk)
½ cup powdered sugar
500g coarsely ground pistachios
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp. orange blossom water
2 tbsp. melted butter or ghee
In a bowl place the semolina and add the butter/ghee and oil to it. Rub the butter and oil into the semolina until they are completely absorbed by it. The semolina will resemble wet sand. Cover and leave overnight. This will allow the semolina granules to swell and soften.
The next day add the flour, mastic, mahlab, vanilla and baking powder. Dissolve the yeast in the water with the sugar and wait for it to foam and bubble. Add it to the semolina mix and add the orange blossom and rosewater. Mix gently by taking a lump of dough and then crumbling it between your fingers and then repeat. At first you will get clumps, but then the dough will come together. You are not aiming for a smooth dough ball. Just for a dough that comes together and is homogenous. Do not mix longer since this will develop the gluten and cause the Maamoul to be tough. Cover and allow to rest for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Take a walnut size piece of dough. Keep the rest of the dough covered or it will dry out. If you find that the dough is a little dry or it cracks when you try to form it, add ¼ cup of vegetable oil and knead it lightly into the dough.
Form a small cup of dough using your thumb to make a hole and pinching the sides thin. Stuff with filling so it comes ¾ of the way up and close carefully, rolling smooth.
Bake maamoul until the edges are golden brown (5-12 minutes) and then place them under the broiler till the tops are golden brown (2-5 minutes)
Take the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 10- 15 minutes. Then move them to a cooling rack because they are prone to crumble if you move them when they are still hot. Dust with powdered sugar.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND PROP STYLING: MARGARET STEPIEN
RECIPES AND FOOD STYLING: YORINDE SLEEGERS AND WASSIM KARAM