Tag Archives: Maamoul

Celebrating Eid al-Fitr at Home with Sweets

Since the start of quarantine, many in America have been far away from their families, but paradoxically, many have also returned home and are closer to their families than ever. This includes photographer Eslah Attar, who moved home during quarantine to her parents’ house in Ohio. While there, she has learned a score of family recipes from her Syrian mother, which is especially significant during the celebration of Ramadan. The end of Ramadan, Eid-al-Fitr is this weekend, and is marked with an especially large feast to mark the end of a month of fasting. This NPR article features Attar’s photographs of some of the many delicious, fast-breaking sweets her mother has taught her to prepare including Baklava, knafeh, and maamoul (as seen below).

Eslah Attar for NPR

Baklava (layered phyllo sweets with syrup and nuts), Knafeh and Maamoul (date cookies) are popular throughout the Middle East, and anywhere with a Middle Eastern diaspora, and every country and family has a slight variation. Baklava is definitely common in the US, and maamoul date cookies are not unfamiliar to the American palate, but Knafe gives and entirely different taste experience. We grew to like knafe (also spelled knafeh, kunafeh, and kanafeh) when we were in Egypt. This surprisingly hearty dessert is composed of crunchy, shredded Phyllo (semolina is also used in Egypt) with a cheesy center (typically Akawi cheese, though Mozzarella can be substituted), topped with a rosewater or orange blossom-tinged sugar syrup, and pistachios. I know this description is not doing knafe justice, but it really is delicious. Here are some Levantine knafe recipes from: Cook for Syria, Food 52, The Cooking Foodie, and Chef Tariq. Eid Mubarak!

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Filed under Holidays, Pastry Post-Poc

Pastry-Post Doc: Ma’amoul From Lebanon

lebanonOne of the food groups I didn’t grow to like until my adult years were figs and dates (perhaps it was all the little seeds) – but now I love them. Figs and dates are found commonly as cookie fillings throughout the Mediterranean, and one of the most popular varieties is Ma’amoul from Lebanon. Ma’amoul are sweet semolina flour cookies filled with date paste (the filling may also include pistachios or walnuts), and usually shaped in wooden molds (though they can also be made and decorated by hand, as below). In Lebanon, they are popular around Easter, but they are now popularly eaten in the region to coincide with other holidays as well. So nowadays you can find Ma’amoul pretty much any time of the year! Here is a recipe with variations for date, pistachio and walnut filled Ma’amoul, and a version that combines dates, pistachios and walnuts into a single filling.

Maamoul by

Ma’amoul by Hisham Assaad

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Filed under Reviews