Maamoul (date pastries)
- 250g plain flour
- 125g unsalted butter, softened but still cold
- 1 tbsp unflavoured oil
- 1 tbsp icing sugar, plus more to dust the cooked pastries
- 1 tbsp rose water
- 1 tbsp milk
- 300g pitted dates
- 4-6 tbsp water
Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
First make the filling: Blend the dates in a food processor with just enough water to make a soft paste.
Rub the fat into the flour, add the oil, 1 tbsp icing sugar and the rose water and just enough milk to make a soft, malleable dough.
Take walnut-sized lumps of dough and pat and shape to make a small, thin-sided cup. Fill with about 1 tsp of filling and draw the edges of the dough up around the filling, pinching them together to seal. Carefully roll to make a smooth, round ball, press to flatten slightly and put seam side down on a lined baking sheet.
Make a pattern on top of each with a fork and bake for about 25-30 minutes until the maamoul are firm but the tops are still pale. DO NOT ALLOW TO BROWN – THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. When they come out of the oven, dust liberally with icing sugar, and allow to cool. When completely cool, dust with more icing sugar (the icing sugar dusting is important – otherwise they will not be sweet enough).