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Maamool with Pistachios

Maamool with Pistachios

Maamoul is an ancient Arab dessert filled pastry or cookie made with dates, pistachios or nuts such as walnuts (occasionally almonds). They may be in the shape of balls, domed or flattened cookies. They can either be decorated by hand or be made in special wooden molds.

Maamoul is usually made a few days before Eid, then stored to be served with Arabic coffee and chocolate to the guests who come during the holiday. It is popular throughout the Arab world, especially in the Levant.


2 pounds farina (the very fine semolina)
⅔ cup coarse semolina
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
½ cup orange blossom water
½ cup rose water
1 tablespoon mahleb
1 tsp. Vanilla paste
½ tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg
21 ounces butter, to be clarified

1 ½ cup raw pistachios
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. freshly-ground green cardamom
3 tablespoons orange blossom water


1. Start by clarifying the butter: In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat; remove the saucepan from the heat as soon as it has melted. Set aside for 10 minutes. You will notice the milk solids fall to the bottom.

2. Strain it through a wire sieve lined with several layers with cheesecloth. Pour the melted butter over the cheesecloth and get rid of the milk solids. Now you have the clarified butter.

3. Mix the farina and coarse semolina in a large bowl. Pour the clarified butter and knead with you hands to infuse all together. Set aside (the semolina mix needs to rest for 6 hours) .

4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: place the raw pistachios in a food processor and pulse a few times to considerably grind the pistachios. Transfer to a bowl, add the sugar, cardamom and orange blossom water, and mix well to fully incorporate. Set aside.

5. When 6 hours have passed on soaking the semolina mix, add the all-purpose flour, active dry yeast, mahlab, canola oil, orange blossom water, vanilla paste, nutmeg and rose water.

6. Knead the sticky dough for a minute or until the dough is soft and silky. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave it to rest for 1 more hour.

7. To put together: Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Place a rack in the center of the oven

8. After 1 hour, knead the dough again and divide it into equal balls, roughly the size of an apricot. Make a hole in the center of each ball, with your finger fill the hole with a teaspoon of the pistachio filling. Seal the hole patching the dough together and roll it into a ball.

9. Transfer each stuffed ball into the mold, pressing it lightly in to level it up with the mold. Gently tap the mold on a counter top, converting it and the maamoul will come out. The other method is to decorate it by hand as in the photo.

10. Place it on the cookie sheet, keep the maamoul 2cm/1 inch apart. Bake about 15-20 minutes to a golden color. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down, then dust with powdered sugar.

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