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Makrout Lâassel | Algerian {EID AL FITR RECIPE}

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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Makrout is one the classic traditional North African semolina cookies enjoyed during celebrations. Makrout, also spelled Maqrout, Makroudh, Maqrut, Mqaret, Imqaret or Makroud. The word makrout in arabic means "diamond shaped" as these small delights are traditional diamond shaped. They orginated in Tunisia in the city of Kairouan but has made it's way to Algeria and Morocco. And there is even a variation also in the Mediterranean island country of Malta.
 






Makrout along with other one of the classic traditional North African cakes along with Tcherek el ariane, Tcherek m'saker, Dziriette, Knidlette and Baklavacome out of the Andulasian tradition of honeyed sweets. Makrout Lâassel remains one of Algeria's most popular pastry. Fried or baked with a stuffing almonds or date, Makrout in it's various forms is present on all celebration tables. 

Makrout is a simple cookie, made with everyday ingredients from the Algerian pantry. Decorating Makrout can be simple as using the back of knife to make a few score cuts, or using a glass to make circular imprints or using an impression stamp or even more detailed by using special tweezers to create pretty designs. 


Makrout Lâassel is by far I think my favorite of all the makrouts out there ... While I like dates, I much prefer the almond filling. I like the crunch as you bite into the semolina that gives way to the fragant almond center. Makrout is rich and caloric cookies, eaten one is often more then enough for the stomach. While Makrout are addictive, beware of eating too many. I often don't bother dipping the makrout in the honey after baking, as it's sweet enough for me. Most Algerian cooks dip and then double dip their Makrout in honey. So of course, when guests come by, I dip my Makrout in the honey to be authentic.


Please note, I posted this recipe for several years but have taken some new pictures and decided to share this delicious treat again. Here are the photos from years back, just for fun!

Algerian cooks use measures for baking. For ease, I've made one measure = 1 American cup or about 250g in metric. If you choose to use the measure then you can use any cup ( large coffee mug, tea cup or even small shot glass style tea glass) for your measure. It will work fine with any of these. Click here for info on Algerian measurements.

Makrout dough is little quirky. So I have included some troubleshooting tips and tricks below in the recipe. 
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So let's get started with the recipe.



⇝ If you're looking for a gluten-free version try Doriane's Makrout bars out.






KITCHEN TIME 🕓 ACTIVE PREP TIME :25 min |   INACTIVE PREP TIME : overnight   |  COOK TIME : 25 min 

sweets | makes about 50

Makrout Lâassel  
Algerian Almond Filled Honeyed Semolina Cookie 
 Flavourful twist to this famous east Algerian soup, perfect for your Ramadan table or on cold days. 



FOR THE DOUGH:
‣ 3 cups - 750g semoule moyen (medium grained semolina) Semi-grosse is also fine
‣ 2 1/5 TBS flour
‣ 1 cup melted butter 
 pinch of sea salt
‣ 1 TBS vanilla powder or 1 package of vanilla sugar (not extract or essence)
‣ 1/2 cup - 120mL + or - warm water + maz'har (orange blossom water)

FOR THE FILLING:
‣ 2 cups - 500g of ground almonds
‣ 1 cup - 250g sugar
‣ one generous pinch of cinnamon‣ one generous TBS of vanilla 
‣ one small splash of almond essence (optional)



FOR DIPPING:

‣ Honey to dip or pour over (about 500g - 2 cups should be enough)
‣ 3 TBS maz'har (orange blossom water)


Optional garnish of sesame seeds
‣ Oil to fry in or little to grease the baking dish



1. Mix the semolina, flour, salt and butter in a large bowl. The flour I have found helps bind the dough. Without the dough usually crumbs apart when cooking. Many cooks usually use smen or artifical ghee, but I find I don't like the aftertaste and it's unhealthy.I prefer good quality butter. Rub the grains of semolina between your fingers, so that all the grains are well coated with the butter/oil mixture. Continue to rub the grains between your fingers for several minutes before proceeding.

2. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside. Let it rest like this for at least 2 hours. But ideally, as I do let it to rest overnight. Then work with it in the morning. The dough should be be like wet oily sand in the morning.

3. Meanwhile, mix all the ground almonds, spices, sugar, butter and orange blossom water for the filling. Bring the almond mixture together to form a smooth ball, kind of like a dough, then form 2 long logs in the above photo.


4. After 2 hours or the next morning, slowly in batches add in the blossom water and water, until you have obtained a soft and homogenous dough. Don't knead the dough or over work it. But rather rake the semolina and mix with your finger to incorporate the liquid until a moist dough forms. It should hold its shape. If needed, add little more (few teaspoons) of orange blossom water at a time. Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.


5. Take the almond paste and divide into 4, making 4 long logs. Cover until you use it.

6. Divide the dough into 4 portions. Then taking one form into a rough log, about the same length as your almond paste logs.. (See photo. Create a cavity in which the filling will be placed in. Place the filling log in the center of the cavity as in the photo.If the filling has dried out a little no worries, just gently sprinkle it into the cravity.


7. Cover the cavity by folding over to close the filling. Pinch the edges together tightly. shaping the dough around the filling. Pinch and set aside any extra excess dough or filling. Gently roll the logs on your work surface smoothing out the log. Cut the logs in half if it is more managable for you.

7. Cut the dough roll into equal (about 3 cm) losanges - diamonds - diagonal pieces as above. If you like, you can press in a pattern with a cookie cutter or by using the back of your knife. This is optional. You can leave the Makrout plain without any decoration, if you prefer.  


⇢⇢ If you're using a makrout form to decorate the Makrout, the dough should be slightly smaller than the form since you press down on the dough. The dough, once you press down on it, should about the same size as the form.


8. Reshape the cut ends to have a nice uniform look.


9. Repeat the steps until you have used all the dough.

10. Set the makrout aside to rest, for at least 20 minutes. After about 15 minutes,  you can heat up a saucepan with oil - about three fingers deep. And in another pan, heat up the honey syrup. The syrup should be hot but not boiiling.

11. Test the oil with a small piece of the dough. If the oil, is hot enought, fry the makrout in small batched until goliden. Be very careful, as boiling hot oil is very dangerous! Use a slotted spoon to transfer the makrout in and out of the oil.

12. Once the markout are golden but not brown yet, remove from the oil and allow to drain the excess oil on a kitchen paper towel for a minutes.

13. Then dip or soak the makrout in the honey; allowing the honey to absorb for a few minutes. Drain. Then resoak in the honey. Drain again. And optionally garnish with sesame seeds or almonds.



For a nice presentation place each makrout in a dainty little cupcake paper holder. It also helps absorb a lot of the honey. Makrout is best eaten with hot North African style mint green tea!



    Shaping
    ⇝ You can shape the Makrout into different shapes by using molds, for a more decorative touch. Or alternatively forming the Makrout into balls, then impressing lines on them using the back of the knife. Super easy and makes you look like some confectionary genius! 


    You can also find makrout impression called "tampon de makrout" here in Algeria or even around the Internet like at HalwatiShop. ← And no, I am not afflicated with this website. 


    Trouble Shooting
    ⇝ If you test one makrout in the hot oil and you find it breaks apart, then don't fear. This happens. It comes down to the quality of your semolina. Best thing, to do if this happens is just  knead in a few tablespoon of flour into your dough. Reshape and test fry one. If the dough is still crumbly simply place all your makrout on a baking sheet then bake in a 180°C - 350°F oven for about 20 minutes. Making sure the Makrout isn't burned on the bottom. Then remove from the oven, then soak in honey.

    Healthier Cooking Alternative
    ⇝ You can easily bake these cookies in a 180°C  350°F oven instead of frying them.

    ⇝ You can also quickly dip the makrout in the honey or even pour it over them when serving for a less sweet version


    Storage

    ⇝ Makrout is best fresh. It will stay fresh and solid for about 3-5 days. After that it is still edible but will become crumbly. I don't advise freezing makrout as it will crumble apart. 

    Variation
    ⇝ You can use almonds, walnuts or any other nut of your choice for the inside. 
    ⇝ You could add caradmon or even chai masala spices to the filling and honey for an interesting twist. 
    ⇝ Even dates. To use date date called ghers in Algeria. You need packed baking dates, not my date paste refined sugar sub. My date paste is too soft for this cookie. You can find baking dates in Middle Eastern/Turkish/Greek shops or here in Algeria in cake supply shops or where they sell whole dates. The ratio for date filled Makrout is (date paste + 1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp vanilla + 1 tsp cinnamon)
    ⇝ Dip the makrout in maple syrup instead of honey.

    Subsitute
    ⇝ You can use coconut oil, nut oils, olive, REAL smen, REAL ghee or even a mix of oil and butter here. Olive oil gives a slight background tone of fruityness.


     CATEGORIES: soup, winter,  RAMADAN, QUICK AND EASY, HEALTHY, , VEGAN ADAPTABLE , 


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    To find out more about other types of Makrout check out this post.


    Or see other Algerian- North African celebration sweets here.


    Or get inspired at the Recipe Index.

    Below is a condensed version of the recipe above. This Recipe card savable & sharable RECIPE CARD. Click right to enlarge and save.




       WHAT's your favourite  sweet fr eid el fitr? 






      3 comments:

      1. Lovely cookies. Those markout impressions are wonderful for making so many other recipes as well.

        ReplyDelete
      2. I love cakes and cookies made with semolina and I am now discovering this pastry through your post; would love to try it soon at my house!

        ReplyDelete
      3. Hi I made these cookies today, but didn't see how much butter to add to the filling. I just guessed and they turned out okay, buti would really like to know exactly how much to add. Also is it " two and one fifth tablespoons of flour"? Sorry to ask, but I just wanted to check. They did turn out very tasty, but a little crumbly so I just wanted to make sure I got it right. Thanks

        ReplyDelete



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