Makroud (North African semolina pastry)

    (2)
    2 hours 10 min

    Makroud is a dairy free and egg free deep fried pastry which is popular in Algeria and Tunisia. It is best to start the pastry for makroud the day before so the semolina fully absorbs the oil.


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    Ingredients
    Makes: 20 or 25 makroudh

    • For the pastry
    • 500g medium semolina
    • 150ml vegetable oil
    • 250ml water
    • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
    • For the filling
    • 200g pitted dates
    • 1 orange, zested
    • For deep frying
    • vegetable oil
    • ½ runny honey

    Method
    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:10min  ›  Extra time:1hr  ›  Ready in:2hr10min 

      Pastry (the day before):

    1. Place the semolina in a bowl and add the vegetable oil. Mix with a fork and cover. Allow the semolina to absorb the oil for at least 1 hour, better overnight.
    2. Filling:

    3. In the bowl of your food processor, place the dates and the orange zest.
    4. Process until the dates form a compact and relatively smooth paste. Shape the paste into a long cylinder 3 or 4cm in diameter. Set to one side.
    5. Pastry (the next day)

    6. In a bowl mix the orange blossom water with 150ml of the water. Add this to the semolina. Mix by hand, then add the rest of the water little by little, very slowly, being careful not to add too much so it won't get soggy. About 70 or 100ml of additional water will be needed. Shape the mixture into a ball and transfer to a work surface (note that the mixture will be oily and will leave a lot of oil on the work surface).
    7. Shape the mixture into a large log and create a trench in the centre along the length (the trench should be the size of the date paste cylinder). Place the date paste inside the trench and enclose it with the mixture all around. Roll and shape the log so as to obtain a long cylinder 6 or 7cm in diameter. Make sure that the date paste is stretched so it it as long as the pastry in order to avoid pastry without filling at the ends.
    8. Cut the resulting cylinder into pieces of 3cm length. The cylinder can also be cut at an angle to form diamond-shaped pieces, which is the traditional makroudh shape.
    9. If desired, make small incisions with a sharp knife on top of the makroudh pieces.
    10. Deep frying:

    11. Heat oil in a deep fryer or in a wide heavy frying pan. Be careful not to overheat the oil, it should not smoke. Fry a few pieces at a time on both sides until they are lightly golden. Do not fry over high heat, otherwise the makroudh will turn golden before completely cooked on the inside. Turn them and cook them well on both sides.
    12. Degrease the makroudh on paper towels. Heat the honey in a small saucepan and coat the makroudh with warm honey. .

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