Makrod is a great North African Dessert Classic.
It showcases some of my absolute flavors: semolina, dates and honey. 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. Take a look: My husband and I did some…. quality control: Approved!
Baked Makrod: My solution WORKS!
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.
Making Makrod with butter
I won’t lie: That comes out amazing. I am giving you the recipe with oil, which is delicious, but using butter will take it will be beyond amazing!
No problem using gluten-free flour and fine cornmeal. It will work beautifully as well. Cornmeal is nice and absorbent, and will soak the syrup right through.
You can use almonds or pine nuts
In this case:
1- No sesame seeds at the end of baking
2- push an almond or a pine nut in the center of each serving before baking.
- 1 egg
- 1 cup oil (or softened butter)
- 2 cups flour
- 3 cups farina or semolina
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- About 1 cup water. Start with less. Add 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 (You can do this by hand too. In this case shape it directly into the pan, just make sure it's an even thickness).
Transfer the dough rectangle 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 small 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. If you used almonds or pine nuts in the center of each serving, skip the sesame seedsLet the pastry cool, then cut it along the scored lines.
Store in an air-tight tin box. Makes about 3 dozen pieces.