About this recipe:Makrout is a traditional North African semolina pastry. Also spelled Maqrout, Makroudh, Maqrut, Mqaret, Imqaret or Makroud. The word makrout in Arabic means "diamond shaped", as are these small delights. They originated in Tunisia but have become popular from Algeria to Morocco, and there is even a variation found in Malta.
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Method Prep:1hr › Cook:45min › Extra time:8hr › Ready in:9hr45min
Mix the semolina, oil, butter and salt in a large bowl. Rub the grains of semolina between your fingers, so that all the grains are well coated. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside. Let it rest like this for at least 2 hours, but ideally overnight. The mixture should be like wet, oily sand in the morning.
The next morning, combine the warm water and orange blossom water. Slowly add to the semolina mixture along with the flour and vanilla sugar. Add just enough liquid till you have obtained a soft and homogeneous dough. Don't overwork the dough, just enough to have a smooth and flexible dough that forms into a ball easily. Set aside.
Make the filling by combining the almonds, sugar, vanilla sugar, cinnamon and almond extract. Form into 2 long logs. Set aside.
Divide the semolina dough into 2 balls, then flatten to form a rectangle, about 3 times the width of your filling logs. Press down in the centre to form an indentation, then lay the filling log. Fold the semolina dough over the filling, pressing the edges together to seal. Roll the log out gently, shaping it around the filling and smoothing into a uniform shape. (Cut the logs in half if it is more manageable.)
Cut each log into diagonal pieces, creating diamond-like shapes. Reshape the cut ends to have a nice uniform look. Repeat the steps until you have used all the dough.
Set the makrout aside to rest, as you heat up a deep, heavy saucepan with oil - about three fingers deep. And in another pan, heat up the syrup ingredients to just below simmering, and keep warm.
Once the oil is hot enough, fry the makroud in small batches till golden on all sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper and continue frying till all makroud are cooked.
After frying, dip the makrout in the hot honey syrup, keeping them in the syrup for about a minute. Remove and drain on wire racks. Repeat the process, adding each makroud to the syrup for a second soak. Remove and drain on wire racks, and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using.
Makroud are best fresh, but will stay fresh and solid for about 3 to 5 days. After that they are still edible but will become crumbly. I don't advise freezing makrout as it will crumble apart.
For a nice presentation place each makrout in a dainty little cupcake paper case. Makrout is best eaten with hot North African style mint green tea!