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Feuilles de Bourek, Diouel, Malsouka, Warka, Brik | Homemade North African Bourek Pastry Leaves

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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Dioul, also known as Feuilles de Bourek in French or Brik, in Eastern Algerian and Tunisian, Malsouka in Tunisia and Warka, Ouarka, Ouarqa in Morocco is handmade pastry leaf that is everyday staple for any North African kitchen. It's use to make traditional North African sweet and savory pastries Bourek Algéroise, Bourek Annabi, Malsouka, Bastila and many more.

Dioul is paper thin and flexible pastry leaf closely related to phyllo dough, but it's a bit studier.  It bends very easily, can be cut with scissors and is slightly rubbery, allowing it to be wrapped around food. After baking or frying this pastry leaf becomes very seducivly crisp and  and crispier after cooking. To me it's more like the North African equilavent of rice paper or spring roll paper. Dioul dough is made from flour and semolina. The traditional preparation of this pastry leaf requires quite signficant amount of skill and patience.  The sticky wet dough is quickly dapped  onto an introverted snioua (flat metal pan) heated over a charcoal brazier with a  tap, tap, tapped motion repeately until the pan  is covered with a thin layer of the dough. The paper thin dough quickly cooks and if lifted off the pan with oiled hands. Then the process is repeated one by one until there is massive mound of pastry leaves. And believe me, for any North African celebration a numerous amounts of these leaves are needed for any number of scrumptious sweet or savory dish. Algerians, much like other North Africans conveniently buy their dioul in the souq (market) that has been prepared skillfully by talented women. But this traditional preparation of this versatile pastry leaf has been industrialize and you can easily buy now sturdier mass produced leaves in Algeria, as well as other North African, but the true delight lays in the use of handmade dioul. Making dioul at home the traditional way is an art few of us will ever have the chance to have patience to learn. It takes years of patience to get the right combination of semolina and flour to obtain a very sticky dough, but harder yet is learning the "tapping" method of tapping a thin layer of the dough into the pan. In modern times, for busy cooks like me an alternative method can be used to prepare dioul at home with much less effort.

Why do it yourself?
You may be asking why to prepare your own pastry leaves ...
1 For the majority of people worldwide dioul isn't available at your local market. Areas where it's not available subsituting phyllo, strudel, flour based spring roll wrappers, or egg roll wrappers is one option, but sometimes you want authentic ingredients so preparing dioul at home is just a matter of patience and a little time. 
2 Even if you live (like I do), in Algeria where dioul is widely available there are times, like during Ramadan where it can be challenging to find good quality dioul due to high demand and everyone being on vacation. And sometimes, like in Ramadan running all around town hunting it down just isn't an option. 
3 Dioul is actually fun to make, tedious but fun to make. A real family bonding activity to do with your children any lazy weekend afternoon Think Montessori:)
4 You can flavor the dioul anyway you want, by adding herbs and spices of your choice.
5 You can make any size or shape you like according to your desired use
6 Homemade is a fraction of the cost then store bought (even here in Algeria). J
The preparation of diouel is super simple and take 2 minutes. Cooking is a bit tedious but I found a little technique introduced on the Moroccan show Choumicha then gone viral all over the Internet by way of the talented Nadia to facilitate this. The result is really nice! Moroccan cook Alia from Cooking with Alia did a two part special with the world reknowned Paula Woffert on the preparation of dioul, or warka as its known in Morocco here and here for your viewing pleasure. 

Please note, that a highly glutenous flour, like a bread flour is needed for the diouel batter. In Morocco, they market a brand of flour special for making diouel, but in Algeria (and elsewhere) we don't have ready mix but that's no problem -- there really is NO need! The bread flour allows for flexibility and strength. And the small amount of semolina will further strengthen the batter so your diouel can be used without ripping for such recipes as Tunisian Brik,Moroccan Bastillas and Bourek Annabi. While the addition of apple cider vinegar will not only give it a yummy taste but even further the leaves shelflife. And finally the size of your pan depending on what you'll use the leaves for. For sweet Samsa or savory bourek a 20cm pan works fine, but for bigger bastilla or tadjine malsouka a larger 25 cm pan would be better.  Additionally for a more visual look on how to prepare these pastry leaves check out this or this video.
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   dioul, feuilles de bourek, malsouka, brik, warka,  

north african pastry leaves

Easy homemade gossamer thin and flexible North African leaves used to make such delicacies as bourek, bastilla, tajine malsouka and samsa. 

how-to | yields about 30 beautiful opaque leaves
KITCHEN TIME 
ACTIVE PREP TIME: 5-8mins
INACTIVE PREP TIME: 30 min
COOK TIME: 40 - 45 mins
۞ = SUBSTITUTIONS
equipment
‣ a pan with an anti-adhesive coating ( crêpe or pancake pan) 
‣ pastry brush ( heat-proof silicon, bristle paint brush) 
‣ spatula one large stock pot for boiling water
‣ blender or food processor 
‣ parchment paper, wax paper or any kind of food safe plastic film 
 ‣ clean kitchen towel or kitchen paper towel

‣ 255g - 2 cups bread/strong flour 
50 g - 1/4 cup fine semolina flour (semouletta, semouline)
‣ 2 TBS neutral oil
‣ 250ml - 1 cup warm water
‣ 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Take all the ingredients and blend using a blender or food processor. You could use a whisk but it's easier to get a homogenized batter using a kitchen machine. 

Allow the batter to rest for at least 30 minutes.  

Pour some water into a pot that fits well with your skillet. Bring the water to the boil. This allows for the batter to cook without drying it. You'll get a flexible almost gelatinized leaf. Preheat your skillet the pot of water on a low heat. 

Once the pan is hot. Dip the pastry brush  into the batter. Using long and curving strokes "paint" th batter onto the skillet. Gently dap any holes or bare spots.  Don't use any butter or oil. 

Allow the dioul to cook for a few minutes. The leaves will start to crisp up around the edges, coming away from the pan. This is normal. Don't let it get too cripsy in the center or browned. Rough edges are unavoidable. You can trim them off later, if needed. Lift off the dioul and place on a kitchen towel to dry and soften. Don't stack or they'll stick together. 

Once completely cooled, trim any unwanted too rough edges off. Now you can stack them and wrapped them in food-safe plastic wrap.
Storage
You can store dieoul on the countertop for a few days. Just make sure you wrap them well. A dried out dieoul is useless. Refrigerated is good for about a week. And if properly wrapped, frozen dioul is good for 6 or months. To use, just thaw on the countertop. 
Usage Tip If your dieoul, gets a bit dry you can easily spray or wet it with just a bit of water. Don't use too much water or it'll rip when folding.

 CATEGORIES:  HOMEMADE, algerian 


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