Mamoul is traditionally filled with pitted dates, but we can also make them with coarsely chopped pistachio nowadays.
Since dates are naturally sweet in a sticky, candied-like fashion, sugar is not necessary in this recipe except for some confectioners’ sugar for dusting. That is not the case if we use pistachio, however.
Although native to the Middle East, dates have now earned a place in California agriculture. Golden to dark brown when ripe, they are about 1 or 2 inches long with one seed in the center. Dates are fresh but do give the appearance of dried fruits because their paper-thin skin is characteristically wrinkled.
Packaged dates are available year round, and fresh domestic dates are in season between October and December.
|Pitted dates, finely chopped||½ lb.|
|All purpose flour||1¾ cups|
|Unsalted butter,||12 Tbsp or 1½ sticks|
|cut into pieces|
|Rose or orange flower water||2 tsp|
|Confectioners’ sugar for finishing|
- Put dates and water in a saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer, reduce and stir often until the consistency is thick and jam-like. Spread the filling on a plate or shallow bowl to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Process flour with butter in a food processor until they are well combined.
- Sprinkle with rose water and milk. Continue processing until dough just forms a ball.
- For even portions, divide dough into 25 – 30 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then insert an index finger into it to make a hole. Use your thumbs to enlarge the hole so that it becomes a little cup.
- Fill with a spoonful of the filling and pinch the opening closed. Place each cookie seam-side down on prepared baking pans, leaving about 1-inch around in all directions.
- Press each mamoul gently to flatten, then use a fork to pierce the surface in a decorative design.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, making sure that they remain very white. They should take on no color at all because there is no added sugar in the recipe. Therefore, caramelization, if any, should be minimal.
- Cool in pan on racks. Dust heavily with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Store between sheets of parchment or wax paper in airtight containers.
|¾ cup unsalted, shelled, very green pistachio, coarsely chopped|
|¼ cup sugar|
|1½ tsp rose water|
If you prefer pistachio, use:
Mix pistachio, sugar, and rose water together in a small bowl to make the filling.
This recipe for Mamoul is in Cookies Unlimited by Nick Malgieri published by HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2000.