Is it a biscuit or is it a cake? A good question. Ma’amul are essentially decorative filled biscuits. They are sometimes called Middle-Eastern cookies. Definitely sweet, though not overly sweet like baklava, they are delicate and crumbly, with a decorative biscuit exterior that is familiar to most people.
They get called lots of different names…. Ma’amul is spelled different ways including Ma’amol Ma’amoul or Ma’amul are all common spellings.
What is in Ma'amul?
Ma’amul are filled with a fine or a medium-fine paste of dried fruit, nuts or a combination of both. Dates, pistachio, walnut, almond and even dried fig are used to fill Ma’amul. The biscuit is made using semolina flour, for a crumbly and buttery texture.
Where does Ma'amul come from?
Ma’amul are an Arabic traditional sweet, although thy can be found in Greece, Turkey, the Arabian peninsula and Israel too. They are made in most Arab nations but especially notable varieties come from Syria, Israel and the Lebanon. The high-quality baking traditions of the Levantine countries, and the abundance of high quality dates, pistachios and walnuts have led to Ma’amul being an exceptionally delicious biscuit.
When do we eat Ma'amul
Ma’amul are prepared for the end of Eid, Easter, Lent or Christmas and are traditionally offered to guests during festivities. Ma’amul are served alongside a cup of Arabic or Turkish style coffee. The gift to a tired traveller.
It is also tradition in Israel to eat one or two on the evening of Purim, before the party starts.
What do Ma’amul taste like?
Ma’amul are sweet. The biscuit outside is buttery and crumbly and as a good biscuit should be. Ma’amul fillings are all about flavour. Inside Ma’amul is usually less sweet than the biscuit. The dates and figs and the nuts form a delicate and substantial taste. The flavour of the ingredients, the fruit and the nuts, of a good Ma’amul filling should all be apparent.
When the filling in good, Ma’amul is moist and creamy. The filling for date Ma’amul has a very smooth texture. Ma’amul with pistachio or walnut filling has a thicker texture, with small, delicious nuggets of nut suspended in the paste.
Ma’amul in the store cupboard
Because it has a smooth and moist filling, Ma’amul can be stored for a month.