With Easter approaching, I have been in a frenzy of ma’moul making, stuffing them with pistachios, dates and now almonds.
However, unlike my grandmother who made them by hand all the way, I am using the food processor (kneading the dough takes less than 2 minutes) and the ma’moul molds.
I am also giving away two ma’moul molds to three different people.
Only available to residents of the US or Canada. Offer ends on the last day of April 2011.
Conditions to win: Leave a comment here, telling me which of the molds you would like.
- 1 1/2 cups of semolina flour (300 g.)
- 1 1/2 cups of farina or cream of wheat (300 g.)
- 2 sticks of butter (225 g.)
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of rose water and orange blossom water (use the combo of your choice, either 2 ounces of each or whatever mixture suits you) (125 g.)
- 14 ounces of almonds, peeled and slivered (400 g.)
- sugar syrup made of 2 cups of sugar, one cup of water, one teaspoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of rose water and one teaspoon of orange blossom water (2 verres de sucre, un verre d’eau, une cuillère à café de jus de citron, d’eau de rose et d’eau de fleur d’oranger)
- Powdered sugar, if needed
- Rose water and orange blossom water, as needed
- Melt the two sticks of butter in a saucepan over low heat; skim the foam if you can.
- Place the semolina and cream of wheat in the bowl of a food processor; combine for 20 seconds. Keeping the machine running, add the melted butter through the feed tube in a steady stream. The dough should be sandy and dry at this point.
- Add the orange blossom and rose water through the feed tube and keep the machine running for one or two minutes until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and forms a mass. Open the lid and feel the dough; it should be moist and pliable. Transfer to a one-quart ziploc bag and keep in the bag tightly closed for one hour or longer. The longer it stays in the bag, the more it will soak up the butter and imbibe with the fragrance of the flower waters.
- Make the sugar syrup by placing two cups of sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan and stirring a bit to dissolve the sugar; bring to a boil, add a teaspoon of lemon juice and boil for 10 minutes, not a minute longer; add a teaspoon of rose and orange blossom water to the syrup and let it cool. (The syrup can be prepared up to two weeks ahead and stored covered in the fridge).
- Place the slivered almonds in the bowl of the food processor and pulse to chop them up as fine as you like; add around4 tablespoons of syrup to the almonds, tasting to see if the sweetness is to your taste.
- Transfer the almond paste to a bowl and cover until ready to use. When ready, spread two large pieces of wax paper on a work surface. Make one inch balls of almond dough (or smaller, depending on the mold used); make larger pieces of semolina dough (I used a 1 1/2 inch cookie dough scooper to do this). Prepare the cookie sheets by lining them with baking paper. Heat the oven to 400F. Place a bowl of flour next to you (to flour the ma’moul mold). Spray and flour the ma’moul mold.
- Take one ball of dough and press it between the palms of your hands. You will obtain a 2 1/2 inch disk. Place the smaller ball of almond paste in the middle. Enclose the ball with your fingertips and roll back and forth between your palms to smooth it out. Insert the ball in the ma’moul mold and press on it gently with your palm; flip over the baking sheet with a snappy movement until the mold releases the ma’moul.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes: the ma’moul should be light gold, not brown.
- Serve while still warm (or cooled) with some powdered sugar or a sprinkling of syrup on the cookies if you like.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If the dough stiffens after resting for a while, you will place it in a bowl (of a mixer or food processor) and knead it again for a few minutes all the while adding some rose or orange blossom water if it needs it (if too dry or stiff). Start with one tablespoon at a time.
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