Baked Makrout are diamond shape semolina pastries, filled with date paste and perfumed throughout with orange blossom water. Don’t like to fry? we are taking the slightly healthier route of baking…before soaking in honey syrup!
Makrout a.k.a Makroudh or Makroud, are found in Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan and Tunisian cuisine.
The name Makrout comes from the characteristic diamond shape of the pastries.
Fresh from the oven or frier they are crisp on the outside, rich and softer inside. After a few days the exteriors do soften up, more so with the fried variety. Baked Makrout keep well for up to 2 weeks when stored correctly. Think airtight box, cool and dry place.
There are a many recipes for these popular Ramadan and Eid pastries.
This recipe today comes from the Eastern region of Algeria, Constantine. Where baking the pastries is possibly more popular than frying. Adapted from Amour de cuisine.
Semolina dough initial ingredients
Add melted but cooled smen to semolina and rub in by hand
Semolina Smen mixture – cover & leave to rest for a day
After 24 hour resting semolina mixture – stir in orange blossom water…
Bring dough together with orange blossom and regular water
Makrout dough recipe
Here in Algeria, we use extra coarse or ‘gros’ semolina when frying Makrout. Coarse or ‘moyenne’ semolina may also be used, but is more popular when baking.
Makrout el louz has no semolina and can be gluten free.
The filling of the semolina Makroud differs also. From cinnamon and/or clove spiced date paste, to crushed nuts or almond paste.
While my Algerian husband and I prefer the Makroud filled with date paste, my eldest son will only eat when they have a nut filling.
Many enjoy Makrout with no filling whatsoever.
Little Golden Nuggets
Oh and before I forget, when you buy Makrout here during Ramadan, they are mini size! Ideal for decreasing appetites, or so one hopes.
I’m guessing there is a Makroudh recipe out there for all of us! If this is not ‘the one’ for you, happy searching.
North African semolina pastries filled with date paste. Soaked in honey and perfumed throughout with orange blossom water
- 1 kg Semolina (Coarse)
- 330 g Smen or Ghee (Vegetable, melted and cooled)
- pinch Salt
- 100 ml Orange Blossom Water
- 200+/- ml Water
- 400 g Date paste
- ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2 tsp Butter or Margarine
- 1 tbsp Orange Blossom Water
To Soak / Dip:
- 1 kg Honey / Syrup
- 2 tbsp Orange Blossom Water
- In a medium size bowl, mix together semolina and salt. With your fingers, rub in the Smen. Cover bowl and set aside for a day.
- Break up the semolina grains by rubbing with your fingers then gradually mix in the orange blossom water followed by the water, you need enough to form a soft supple dough. Cover and set aside to rest for 30 mins. Meanwhile prepare the filling.
- By hand, in a small mixing bowl combine all the filling ingredients. If the date paste is extra dry, add more butter / orange blossom water to soften.
- Divide dough and filling into 4 equal size pieces.
- Working with one piece of dough and filling at a time:Roll dough into a thick log approximately 20cm in length.
- With your fingers, make a channel in the middle, running the length of the dough.
- With your hands manipulate the dough to widen the channel.
- Roll the piece of filling into a log the same length as the dough. Place it in the slot.
- Press the dough up and and over the date paste filling to cover it fully. Pinch to seal.
- Gently roll the filled log back and forth and with your hands manipulate it to make it longer. The final log should be approximately 2-2.5cm high.
- *Optional*: With a Makrout Stamp press the top of the log and flatten slightly to imprint the pattern.
- Cut into lozenges/diamonds.If you haven’t got the makrout stamp to guide where to cut: Using a ruler and knife, measure every 3cm then cut on the diagnol. You can also make impressions on the top of each individual makrout using the back of a knife/a fork/cake tongs.
- Repeat the above shaping with the remainder of the dough and filling.Place makrout on a baking tray – preferably lined with baking paper.
Prepare Honey / Syrup:
- Pre-heat oven to 175 ° C / Gas Mark Meanwhile, in a medium size saucepan warm the honey syrup with the orange blossom water. Remove from the heat and pour into a large, preferably shallow bowl. Set aside for later.
Bake Makrout & Soak:
- Bake for about 30mins on middle shelf until golden brown. If your oven’s main heat source is at the base: check the cooking after 15mins, when the bases are a nice golden brown, turn off the base of the oven and turn on the grill/broiler, continue to cook until the tops are also golden.
- Remove from the oven and carefully, but quickly place the hot makrout into the cooled honey syrup. Allow to soak for 10-20mins.Transfer the soaked makrout into a colander to drain the excess honey then place in paper cases. Serve.
- If you prefer, you can let all the makrout completely cool then warm the honey and soak.
- If not serving immediately: when you do serve, you may like to glaze the makrout with a little more honey for a shiny finish.
- Store Baked Makrout in an airtight container for upto 2 weeks in a cool dry place.
If you are concerned with the 1kg of honey syrup in the recipe, fear not. The Makrout don’t soak it all up. It is necessary though, in order for them to fully submerge and evenly soak up the honey syrup.