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Date & Sesame Makrout

My husband as been away from his home country, Algeria for just over 3 and half years. I try my hardest to transport him back there whenever i can, through cooking / baking the delicious cuisine the country has to offer,  makrout are one of his favourite sweet so it's a no brainer that i bake some up to try to impress him and one day my inlaws will enjoy these from me too insha Allah(God willing)

Makrout is not specific to Algeria but is common throughout the whole of North Africa and no suprises there are many versions, fried or baked,  fillings of nuts and / or dates, etc this particular version is baked and the filling consists of dates and sesame seeds.

I would say these cookies are somewhat similar in texture to a fig roll / newton, which according to wiki was probably invented by the early Egyptians as a way of preserving the beautiful and nutritious fig.

There are numerous benefits of the date fruit but today i will mention only one - easing labour pains and shortening the birthing process and it just so happens as i write this post my twin sister is in a local hospital giving birth to her second child mashaAllah (as God willed).

Before, any study showing the benefit of dates for the woman giving birth, Our God Allah blessed us this verse of the quran about Maryam's birth to Isa (Jesus) peace be upon them both, which mentions the date palm.

Translation of the meaning:-

The pains of labor drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She exclaimed: "Oh, if only I had died before this time and was something discarded and forgotten!" A voice called out to her from under her: "Do not grieve. Your Lord has placed a small stream at your feet. Shake the trunk of the palm toward you, and fresh, ripe dates will drop down to you. Eat and drink, and delight your eyes. If you should see anyone at all, just say: 'I have made a vow of abstinence to the All-Merciful, and [so] today I will not speak to any human being.'" (Surah Maryam: 23-26)

 Recipe taken from couscousandpudding with slightly more details

Makes: 30-40


3 cups fine semolina
1 cup of melted butter or margarine (margarine will result in a softer dough)
1/2 tsp salt
60 ml Orange blossom water
120ml* Lukewarm Water


500g dates paste
100g of toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp Orange blossom water
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Oil for hands, work surface


150ml  honey or golden syrup
1-2 capfuls of orange blossom water **

* depends on the absorbency of the semolina


Melt the butter over a low heat and leave to cool slightly.

Mix the semolina and a salt in a large bowl

Pour the melted butter into the semolina, rub the butter into the semolina as you would if making shortcrust pastry ensuring every grain is coated, it all should be a lovely golden sandy beach colour.

 Leave to stand at room temperature for 1hour minimum.

Slolwly moisten the enriched semolina grains with the orange blossom water and water bringing the dough together with your hands, without kneading. You want to use enough water so a soft dough is formed, neither dry or too wet.

Cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel and leave to stand for a few minutes while you prepare the filling.

Pre-heat oven to 180C / 160 Fan

Mix the date paste with butter, orange blossom water and cinnamon, using a butter knife  mix together until a smooth consistency similar to that of the dough. Add the toasted sesame seeds.

Divide date mixture into 3 balls of equal weightWith oiled hands form 3 long logs about 30cm in length.

Make 3 balls of semolina dough the size of oranges, all the same weight.
Take one ball of the dough, make a sausage shape about 30-35cm long and form a tunnel in the centre running from one side to the other or as the author on coucousandpudding says "dig a trench" in the middle with your finger.
Place a log of date paste in the 'trench' shut it well by pinching the dough.
Roll again to reform the sausage shape, then flatten a bit with your hands as i did or use a special makrout mold, if you happen to know where i can get those in england, let me know!Using a knife cut into diamonds/lozenges/rhombus shapes each about 3cms wide and 2cm deep (a ruler comes in handy)

Place the makroutes side by side on a baking parchment lined tray.

Bake in oven until a light golden color, about 20 minutes.

Let cool completely before removing from the tray

Warm your honey mix in some orange blossom water ** to taste then immerse the makroutes for a few minutes. I used a large pan so it meant i had to turn my makroutes after 1 minute to enable the honey to coat all sides.

Drain in the basket of a coucousier (over a pot) or simply place back on baking trays.

Optional extras: sprinkle with sesame seeds/sugar sprinkles

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At 8 September 2012 at 17:33 , Blogger Noor said...

looks good mashAllah perfect with chai

At 9 September 2012 at 15:42 , Blogger Unknown said...

Esalaam Asmaa, I've tried this recipe years ago as a new cook and it didn't come out for at all as she didn't mention measurements. Since then I've learned how to make it from my ILs. But machallah yours looks lovely. And Noor is right would go very well with a chai enchallah! Love your post and nice to see not having an oven hasn't stopped you from posting.

PS as per your request working on grantita recipe right now to post!

Have a blessed day! Henia http://simplicitybythesea.blogspot.com

At 10 September 2012 at 17:21 , Blogger Umm Ahmad said...

This recipe reminds me of Mamoul, except Iraqi's do not use the syrup. I do understand trying to bring your husbands culture/food to him after many years of not seeing his family. My husband hasn't seen or returned to his family/country for over 10 years after fleeing his country to avoid being forced in the army. It is very difficult finding Iraqi recipes, but alhamdulilah after 1 1/2 years of marriage, I have learned a lot of their recipes and enjoy them just as much as I do cooking and preparing them!

At 10 September 2012 at 17:23 , Blogger Karima said...

I so love these - I have been wanting to make these since Ramadan - just can't find the date paste in shops - will have to wait until we go to the large store in the next city inshallah!

At 11 September 2012 at 22:55 , Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks noor, hope you try the recipe someday inshAllah

At 11 September 2012 at 22:59 , Blogger Unknown said...

Wa alaikum Salam sis,

Thank you sis, tried your garantita minus the olives as dh isn't a fan and alhamduillah Soo yummy!

I left a comment over on your blog but haven't checked back to see ur reply anyway I got I new oven too mashaAllah

You too have a blessed day

At 11 September 2012 at 23:07 , Blogger Unknown said...

Salam alaikum ummahmad,

Thank you for visiting and Your nice comment.

I haven't tasted mamoul although I've seen and read about the cookie and yes it's similar, i kind of struggle with Algerian or Arabic pastries only because they require special moulds usually that aren't available in uk, but alhamduillah dh said his mum always makes them by hand so he's not bothered about fancy decorations lol

At 11 September 2012 at 23:14 , Blogger Unknown said...

Salam alaikum karima,

If you can get dates where you are (I forgot which country you said you were in, Algeria or england?) you can make your own date paste.

Steam the dates until they are soft and then whiz up in a food processor.

At 12 September 2012 at 00:22 , Blogger Umm Ahmad said...

Our halal stores sell them! Let me know, I can send one to you Insha'allah. :)

At 12 September 2012 at 21:39 , Blogger Unknown said...

That very kind of you to offer ss but i'm in the uk!, your in the U.S.A right? JazakAllah Khayran for your kind intentions

At 12 September 2012 at 21:39 , Blogger Unknown said...

Sis* sorry typos AGAIN lol

At 2 March 2013 at 22:15 , Blogger Unknown said...

We make these in Morocco too :D we fry & bake. but the only difference that as soon as the makrout are baked/fryed you dunk them straight into hot honey as they absorb better when still hot.
I love my makrout with Moroccan teay. Nothing beats it!


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