Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Ma'moul (Date Patries from Syria)

Servings: Makes about 2 1/2 dozen pastries
This recipe is from Syria. These cookies are traditionally served in Syria during the Easter Holiday.

For the Filling:
1 pound chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons fresh grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Pastry:
1 Butter Flavor CRISCO® Stick or 1 cup Butter Flavor CRISCO® all-vegetable shortening** (see note)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon rosewater* (see note), or water
2 cups all-purpose flour
Confectioners' sugar

*Note: Rosewater is available at Middle Eastern markets.

1. For the Filling:
Combine dates, water, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and almond extract in small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until mixture becomes a thick paste. Stir in orange peel and cinnamon. Remove from heat; cool.

2. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).

3. For the Pastry:
Combine 1 cup shortening and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Beat in milk and rosewater. Beat in flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until well blended. Knead dough in bowl until dough holds together and is easy to shape.

4. Pinch off walnut-size piece of dough. Roll into ball. Pinch sides up to form pot shape. Fill center with level tablespoonful of date filling. Pinch dough closed; press to seal. Slightly flatten and smooth top. Place on ungreased baking sheets about 1 inch apart.

5. Bake in preheated 300°F (150°C) oven for 16 to 20 minutes or until firm and set. Do not allow pastries to brown. Cool on baking sheets 3 minutes; transfer to cooling racks. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar while still warm. Cool completely.

If Butter Flavor Crisco Stick or Butter Flavor Crisco all-vegetable shortening is not available to you, you may substitute with any brand of solid vegetable shortening, adding a little butter flavoring or extract to it.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen pastries.

Source: Famous Brand Name Recipes
Date: Octoer 10, 2004