1 lb. (500 g) plain white flour (up to a quarter of the flour may be replaced with fine semolina)
2 tbsp. white sugar
½ lb. (250 g) unsalted butter (Normandy butter is best)
1-2 tbsp. rose water or orange flower water
2 tbsp. water or milk
pinch of salt (optional)
baking powder (optional)
Mix ½ lb. (250 g) finely chopped pistachios with a somewhat smaller weight of sugar and 1 tbsp. rose water. (Some people use ground almonds, with or without green food colouring, instead of pistachios.)
Mix ½ lb. (250 g) finely chopped walnuts with a somewhat smaller weight of sugar and 1 tbsp. cinnamon.
Chop 1 lb. (500 g) stoneless dates, and bring to the boil with half a teacup of water, squashing the mixture against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon until approximately uniform in consistency. Blend with an electric chopper if desired. One variant is to add some butter to the mixture as it cooks. Allow to cool.
Ma’amoul may be made in special wooden moulds. These should be oiled and wiped, then dusted with flour before use (and after every three to four balls, to prevent sticking). There are three shapes of mould. The flattish circular shape is used for date ma’amoul; the round domed shape for walnut ma’amoul; the long oval for pistachio ma’amoul.
Some families do not use moulds, but have special crimping tweezers for making patterns on the top of the pastry. Alternatively, a fork may be used.
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