Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lebanese Easter cookies - maa’moul

My friend Jean-Luc gave me a wonderful sweet pastry last week, made all the way in France by his mother. It is a Lebanese Easter cookie called 'maa’moul'. A lovely delicate pastry with nuts or dates inside.

I found some recipes and while not essential, traditionally a maa’moul mould is used to shape them, which is made out of wood. I am making one with Rimu wood and my dremel. I made some maa'moul on the weekend.


400 grams fine semolina,
200 grams frozen butter,
10 grams refined flour,
1 tsp baking powder,
100 grams icing sugar + extra for dusting,
2 tbsp milk,
1 /2tsp orange rind,
Filling 1:
175 grams of a mixture or walnuts and pistachios,
50 grams sugar,
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp. rose water
Filling 2:
300g  pitted dates (if dry, soak them with some hot water for 30 minutes then drain)
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
1 tbsp. rosewater


Mix together the semolina, flour, baking powder and icing sugar in a bowl.
Cut the frozen butter into cubes and add it to the dry ingredients and work it in with your fingers till it resembles bread crumbs. Add the milk and orange rind and make a dough. Let it stand covered for about 3-4 hours. This is an important step as it makes the dough workable.

Preheat the oven to 180oC.
Filling 1: Blend the nuts, rosewater, cinnamon powder and sugar 
Filling 2: Blend the dates, rosewater, cardamom and cinnamon
Take two dough balls one small and one big. Take the bigger dough ball and flatten it into a disc and make a slight depression in the centre. Flatten the smaller dough ball into a disc too. Place some filling in the depression of the bigger disc and place the smaller disc on top and seal the edges. Shape into a flat cookie.

If you want to dust the finished cookies with cinnamon sugar (for a sweeter cookie) then make ridges on the cookie using a fork or traditional maamoul wooden mould.

 Bake for 25 minutes at 180oC

Paua from the Catlins coast

Jacks bay

Tom and I went exploring and got some Paua from Jacks bay down the south coast and cooking them nicely this way.

3 Paua
salt and pepper
juice of 3 lemons
6 cloves garlic chopped finely
1 small onion diced
100ml chardonnay
300ml cream
200ml chicken stock

salt and pepper the Paua
heat butter till browned in a skillet and sear the Paua for 1 minute on both sides
Set aside then slice thinly.
Saute the onion and garlic in a pan with olive oil and then add the other ingredients.
Reduce the sauce while cooking some fettucini
add the Paua back into the cream sauce and mix with the fettucini
garnish with parsley and parmesan