A notable treat carried by cart vendors alongside the common kaak. I wanted to make a luxury version at home. So I made it with a rich brioche dough (I just added a bunch of egg yolks). You can make it the street-way, without all these yolks. It is a special treat, ubiquitous during Ramadan.
- All-purpose unbleached flour 550 g. (19.5 ounces)
- 1 Tablespoon of dry yeast
- 1/4 cup of warm water to proof the yeast
- warm milk, 200 g/ (6 ounces)
- melted butter, 50 g.(4 Tablespoons)
- 2 Tablespoons of corn oil (or any oil)
- sugar (75 g.)
- 1 teaspoon mahlab
- 5 large egg yolks
- Date paste (12 ounces)
- Unsalted butter (100 g. or 7 Tablespoons) (for the date paste)
- 2 teaspoons of rose water
- 3 Tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- Place the flour, sugar, salt and mahlab in the bowl of a mixer. Mix for a few seconds the dry ingredients. In the meantime, proof the yeast in a small bowl with a teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of warm water till it bubbles.
- Add the melted butter and oil to the flour mixture and mix, adding the warm milk and eggs gradually, along with the yeast mixture. The dough will be sticky. Plop it onto the counter and add a bit of flour to make it easier to handle. Form into a ball and place in a bowl letting it rise a few hours.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the date filling; place the date paste in a food processor, add the butter cut into chunks and process for a few seconds adding the rose water. Process until the paste looks smooth and shiny.
- When the brioche has risen (doubled in size), flip the ball of dough onto the counter, form into a long and fat sausage and cut in equal-size pieces. Flatten each piece with your fingers into a 6 inch circle. Place a ball of date paste (using a cookie dough scoop makes it easier) on that circle and pinch the circle closed and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet to rise slowly. Flatten the circle gently with the tip of your fingers. Brush with a bit of oil if you wish to keep the dough shiny.
- After a couple of hours, using kitchen scissors, cut a small one inch slit all around the brioche. Let it rise again for an hour or longer. When ready to bake, brush with some beaten egg and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
- Preheat the oven to 400F, place the brioches in the oven over another cookie sheet (to prevent the bottom from burning). Bake for 20 minutes or until the brioches are nicely browned. Cool and serve.
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