Makrout with Dates – a north African cookie made from semolina, filled with dates, traditionally fried (you can bake them if you prefer) till golden then soaked in honey. This sweet is popular to serve on special occasions such as Ramadan and Eid but can be enjoyed all year round
Orange blossom water used throughout the making ensures a well balanced flavour between bitter and sweet.
The flattened diamond shape and decoration can be achieved with the use of a special mold or by hand/using a knife as I did.
At some point i would like to post a photo tutorial but if you struggle with my written instructions this how to make makrout may help.
Having tested 2 recipes the one I’m sharing is my family’s favourite. It uses less butter resulting in a firmer cookie but if you prefer a softer, richer version try Makrout with Dates and Honey by Christine Benlafquih.
ALGERIAN MAKROUT WITH DATES (FRIED)
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
Oil (i used sunflower) for frying
Approximately 300 grams runny clear Honey with 1 tablespoons orange blossom water
- In a small pan melt butter over medium heat, set aside. Measure semolina into a large bowl add the melted butter and mix (using right hand) until butter has coated every grain. Cover and set aside for 2 hours (1 hour minimum).
- Meanwhile pit dates and place in basket of couscousier and steam uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove and place into medium sized bowl along with cinnamon and orange blossom water mash with a fork until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- After 2 hours uncover bowl of semolina and slowly add orange blossom water in the same manner as you added the butter mix / rake with your hand/fingers DO NOT KNEAD but gently press together until you get a smooth dough adding more water (tap) if needed. Cover and set aside to rest for 1 hour.
- Shape cookies by dividing date paste into 3-4 pieces, oil your hands and work surface then roll into thin logs. Divide dough into 3-4 pieces.Taking 1 log of dough make a deep indentation that runs the length of the dough and place the date log inside. Carefully close the dough around the filling, then roll the dough back and forth a few times on your work surface to seal and make the dough smooth again. Gently flatten dough with your hands and divide by making 1 inch / 2 cm diagonal cuts. To decorate score each makrout using the back of a knife.
- In a wide frying pan place oil until it’s about 2.5cm deep . Heat on a medium to high heat (about 160C not hotter than 180C) until hot, (test a scrap piece of dough it should quickly bubble and come to the surface). Place a small pot on stove and heat honey until it’s hot then turn heat off and add orange blossom water, stir and set aside.Fry cookies in batches (5 cookies per batch) until golden brown, turning once, they should only take a few minutes to cook so keep your eyes on the pan. Once cooked immediately transfer to pot of honey and leave a few minutes whilst you fry another batch of cookies. Transfer honey soaked cookies to a strainer/sieve with a bowl underneath, leave to strain then transfer cookies to a large baking sheet to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Leftover honey can be stored then used to drizzle over pancakes!