Lebanon, officially the Lebanese Republic is a country in Western Asia. It shares its boundaries with Syria in north and east, Israel in south. I have already tried some dishes from the Lebanese cuisine. Most often food is either grilled baked or sauteed in olive oil and only some desserts use cream and butter. The recipe I chose today is an Eaaster special cookie which is made with Semolina. This is supposed to be the representation of Jesus’s crown. Do you remember Maamoul I did last week? This cookie is some what similar to it but still different. This has a date stuffing just like maamoul but the outer dough is made of semolina and butter. The original recipe had farina / cream of wheat. When I read about it I felt that it was similar to semolina so I skipped farina for semolina.
This cookie needs two days for preparation. As the dough is made with semolina it needs some resting period. I just transferred the dough to a ziplock bag and let it sit in fridge the whole night. The semolina absorbs all the water in the dough and becomes very hard. The next day after bringing the dough to room temperature, it needs to be processed in the food processor with a little bit of rose water to bring it together. The original recipe made a log out of filling so that it is easy to stuff the cookies. As my filling was soft, I transferred it to a piping bag and piped the filling on the dough directly. I was not very sure about the result but it turned out so nice.
Recipe Source: Taste of Beirut
Makes 12 Cookies
For The Dough:
Semolina/ Sooji- 1 1/2 cups
Butter-1/2 cup, melted
Rose Essence-1/2 tsp
For The Filling:
In a bowl mix together semolina and butter.
In another bowl mix water and rose essence.
Add this to semolina and mix.
Transfer to a ziplock bag and chill it overnight.
The next day, bring it down to room temperature and process it in a food processor or a mixer.
Add 1-2 tbs of water to moisten the dough. When the dough comes together transfer to a bowl and keep it covered.
Remove seeds from dates and add 1/4 cup of water.
Cover and cook until there is no water left.
With a blender make it into a fine paste.
Heat a pan and add butter.
Add this dates paste and cook until thick.
Allow it to cool.
Transfer to a piping bag.
Now divide the dough into 6 equal portions.
Roll a portion into a thin log, place between two butter papers and roll into a thin ribbon.
Pipe the filling in the centre.
Now bring both the sides and seal until it becomes a rope.
Cut it into two equal portions.
Shape each rope into a circle and seal edges.
With a blunt object, make some indents on the circle.
Arrange on a baking tray.
Bake in a 175°C preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Cool on wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve or store in airtight jar.
Here are some dishes I tried from Leabanese Cuisine
Lebanese Chickpea Soup (click on picture for recipe)
Labneh and Labneh Korat (click on picture for recipe)