Makrod is a great North African Dessert Classic.
I have always rather neglected this wonderful treat because the traditional preparation requires frying, my nemesis. Frankly, I don’t think I have more than a handful of fried dishes in my whole repertoire. But, I tweaked the recipe to do my bidding as a baked, not fried, treat, and the result is scrumptious! Sephardi flavors at their best! If you are gluten-free, use GF flour and fine cornmeal.
I instruct you to roll out the dough with a pastry roller, but you can also pat it down evenly simply using your hands. In this case, when adding the top layer of dough, shape it in small pieces, flatten them and put them on top of the filling, putting the little pieces side by side until it is used up and the top is covered with dough.
Although almost all my baked goods are made with oil, I hope you will make, as I do, and exception for this one pastry, and use butter: the results are fantastic.
- 1 egg
- 1 cup oil (better yet, softened butter)
- 2 cups flour
- 3 cups farina or semolina
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- A little water, just as needed to make the dough come together
- 1 pound pitted chopped dates (make sure no pits remain), about 3 cups packed
- 1/2 cup very hot water, a little more if needed
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- Peel of 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons orange flower water
- 1 1/2 cups honey, at room temperature
- 1/4 toasted sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all the dough ingredients thoroughly, and knead it on a board for just a minute or two to obtain a smooth dough. Set aside.
Process all the filling ingredients in a food processor, using the pulse button to avoid splattering, until smooth. Divide the dough in half.
On a lightly floured board, roll each piece into a rectangle 1/2 inch thick, about 10 inches wide and 12 inches long. Transfer onto a well-greased cookie sheet with straight sides (don’t worry if it doesn’t cover the whole surface). Cover the dough evenly with the filling. Repeat with the remaining dough, and place gently over the filling (it’s OK if it breaks, just patch it). Score the pastry in the shape of squares or diamonds. Bake about 40 minutes, or a little longer, until golden.
Immediately pour the honey slowly and evenly over the whole pastry, then sprinkle all over with the sesame seeds. Let the pastry cool, then cut it along the scored lines. Store in an air-tight tin box.