|Shortbread, dates, pistachios or walnuts|
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Ma'amoul (Arabic: معمول ma‘mūl [mɑʕmuːl]) are small shortbread pastries filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts (or occasionally almonds, figs, or other fillings). They are popular in Levantine cuisine and in the Gulf countries. They may be in the shape of balls or of domed or flattened cookies. They can either be decorated by hand or be made in special wooden moulds.
Many households keep a stock of them all year round, but they are particularly used on religious festivals. Muslims eat them at night during Ramadan, and Arabic-speaking Christians eat them at Easter. In Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian Jewish communities, ma’amoul with nut fillings are eaten on Purim, and ma’amoul with date fillings are eaten on Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah. They are very popular also among the Palestinians, and highly demanded in the Gulf States, where you can find packed and commercial versions of the pastry.
The Levantine Jewish version of ma'amoul differs from the general Levantine or Turkish versions by being made with pure white flour and no semolina. Ma'amoul with date fillings are often known as menenas, and are sometimes made in the form of date rolls rather than balls or cookies.
There is a more elaborate version known as karabij, used on special occasions. In this, nut-filled ma'amoul balls are piled in a pyramid and served with a white cream called naatiffe made from egg whites, sugar syrup and soapwort (Saponaria officinalis). These are popular in Syria, Lebanon, and other Levantine countries.
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- Farah, Madelain, Lebanese Cuisine: More than 200 Simple, Delicious, Authentic Recipes: London: 2001 ISBN 978-1-56858-179-8
- Smouha, Patricia, Middle Eastern Cooking, London 1955 ASIN: B0000CJAHX
- Roden, Claudia, A New Book of Middle Eastern Food: London 1986 ISBN 0-14-046588-X
- Roden, Claudia, The Book of Jewish Food: New York 1997, London 1999 ISBN 0-14-046609-6
- Uvezian, Sonia, Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen: A Culinary Journey Through Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan: 2004 ISBN 0-9709716-8-0, ISBN 978-0-9709716-8-5
- Joan Nathan, The Jewish Holiday Kitchen: New York 1988 ISBN 0-8052-0900-X
- Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook: 2004 ISBN 0-8052-4217-1, ISBN 978-0-8052-4217-1
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