Algeria: مكروند

Makroud or Makroud tmar is a delicious and delicate pastry baked or fried and filled with dates or almonds. It is akin to baklava in that it is soaked in a honey syrup after cooked. This pastry is from North Africa and is enjoyed in Algeria as well as Tunisia.

I found an amazing recipe from a blog I’ve used before- 196flavors.com

I would normally just send you to their website but I had to make so many modifications I wanted to share. The changes I made were because I could not get the ingredients needed so I had to make a fair number of substitutions…

I’m going to walk you through the substitutions I made first.

  1. Semolina: I could not find semolina anywhere at any of the grocery stores in my area. So first, what is semolina? It is a course flour made from durum wheat. So you can not substitute corn meal or something like that- also semolina is NOT gluten free! In fact semolina is high in gluten. So, what can you substitute it with? It will alter the texture but you can substitute All Purpose flour. So simply increase the 1/2 cup flour the recipe calls for to 4 cups and omit the semolina.
  2. Orange Blossom water: Orange blossom water is the by product of distilling orange blossoms for their essential oils. It has a floral subtle flavor when used correctly. Sadly I couldn’t get this in my area so I substituted it with orange essential oil. You can use 2-3 drops per tablespoon with water to not off set the liquid needed in the recipe. So I added 8 drops of orange with 4 tablespoons of water in the dough and 9 drops with 3 tablespoons of water. I wanted the filling to have a stronger orange hit once I tasted it.
  3. Date Paste: The recipe states you can use pureed ripe dates but all I had were dried dates. Thankfully I was able to puree the dried dates to get the 1/2 lb of date paste (I weighed my dates)
  4. The recipe calls for ‘resting’ the dough and after making it I couldn’t help but wonder if by ‘resting’ they meant ‘chill’. So for the last bit of ‘resting’ I put it in the fridge and I saw an improvement in the dough. So ‘chill’ don’t just ‘rest’ on the counter.

Makroud Tmar

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 3½ cups medium semolina
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup clarified butter
  • 2 pinches salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup warm water (more or less)
  • 4 tablespoons orange blossom water
  • Vegetable oil (if frying)

For the filling

  • ½ lb date paste (or puréed ripe dates)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter
  • 3 tablespoons orange blossom water

For the syrup

Method

  • Mix the date paste with all the filling ingredients until obtaining a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a mixer, pour the semolina, baking soda and flour. Make a well and pour the melted clarified butter (or just butter).
  • Mix for two minutes so the butter is absorbed by the semolina. Let stand (chill) for at least 2 hours (more if possible).
  • Moisten with orange blossom water and warm water, and mix with your fingertips without overworking or kneading the dough. Add water if necessary. Once reaching a compact ball of dough, cover with plastic wrap and let stand (chill) for 45 minutes.
  • Take a good amount of dough and shape a sausage. With the index finger, make a gutter in the center lengthwise. Roll a little strand of date filling and place it into the gutter. Pull the edges of the dough back on the dates to cover everything. Roll again gently to obtain a sausage of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) diameter. Cut diamond shapes and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Repeat until all the dough is used.

Baking method

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F (180˚C), and bake the pan on the center rack for 30-45 minutes (watch carefully so they evenly get a nice golden color).

Frying method

  • Heat a large pot with oil and deep fry the makroud on each side until browned.
  • For both methods, the diamonds should be arranged close to each other in order to prevent the dates from burning.

Syrup

  • Over low heat, cook all the ingredients of the syrup and dip each cooled makroud on both sides. Set aside for 30 minutes and repeat.

My husband and children absolutely LOVED these! Warning, this recipe makes a lot, so be ready to share 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s