Date bread rings

Date bread ring- Chef in disguise

If you walk into any bakery in Amman in the morning, you will be enchanted by the smell of these beautiful date filled bread rings still warm out of the oven. Freshly baked bread alone smells wonderful but it is the added cloud of spices that makes the scent irresistible.

Biting into one of these beautiful date rings feels like biting into a cloud of soft and fluffy bread. The date filling makes it sweet but not overly so , and the spice notes in it transform these bread rings from your everyday rolls to something enchanting.

I love making these for my kids because they can enjoy them for breakfast, in their lunchboxes or as an after school snack. These date rings are also wonderful portable snack when they go out to play or when we are on the road. The best part is, I can make some on the weekend and we get to enjoy them all week long because they keep beautifully when stored in an air-tight container

Date bread rings

Date bread rings

For the dough

4 and 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1 tablespoon instant yeast

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

1/4 cup yogurt

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup warm milk

1/2 cup warm water

2 eggs

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

The date filling

500 grams pitted dates

2 tablespoons melted butter

Cardamom to taste (I usually 1 teaspoon)

Cinnamon to taste (I use 1 tablespoon)

Ground anise (optional) I use 1/2 teaspoon

Egg wash replacement

2 tablespoons (30 ml) (25 gm) (1 oz) milk powder

3 tablespoons (45 ml) lukewarm water

1teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar

1/4 teaspoon (1 gm) instant coffee

Prepare the date filling

Simply knead the date puree with the butter and spices

Prepare the dough

In  the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a regular bowl) add 4 cups of the flour (leave the remaining 1/2 cup on the side)

Add the sugar, yeast and cardamom to the flour

Turn the mixer on and add the butter.

Mix until the butter is completely blended into the flour

Add the yogurt and mix, again until it is completely taken up by the flour mix

Add the eggs, one at a time and mix until they are fully incorporated

Change into the kneading hook if using your stand mixer or knead by hand

Add the milk and water and knead the dough for 5 minutes

If the dough is too sticky, add the remaining half cup of flour and knead for 5 more minutes.

The dough should be smooth and you need a total kneading time of 10 minutes.

Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with cling film or a wet towel and allow it to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size

Gently deflate the dough by pressing on it with the palm of your hand.

Allow it to rest for 15 minutes

To make the date bread rings

Divide the dough into 7 parts

Roll out each part into a semi-rectangle on a lightly floured surface

dough rectangle

Roll a part of the date filling to form a robe that is as long as the long side of your rectangle

date filling

Place the date filling on the dough and roll the dough around it

dough tube

Join the two edges of the tube to form a circle or ring, pinch the edges together (I usually cut 1 cm off each end before joining them, this gives you clean uniform edges that fuse together neatly )

Using a knife or kitchen scissors (scissors do a better job here), make 2 cm cuts  all around the dough ring



Brush the dough rings with the egg replacement or egg wash

Sprinkle with sesame seeds

Allow to rest for 10 minutes

Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the bottoms are golden brown

Turn on the broiler until the tops are golden brown

Date bread rings

كعك التمر (خبز محشي تمر)

المقادير :
للعجينة :
1/2 4 كوب طحين
4/1 كوب لبن
2/1 ملعقة صغيرة هيل مطحون
1 ملعقة كبيرة خميرة فورية ناعمة
2/1 كوب سكر
4/1 ملعقة صغيرة ملح
3/1 كوب زبدة ذائبه
2/1 كوب حليب دافئ
2/1 كوب ماء دافئ
2 بيضة
1 معلقه صغيره خل ابيض
1 ملغقة صغيرة فانيليا سائلة
نصف كيلو تمر عجوه
2 ملعقه كبيره زبده طريه
2 ملعقه كبيره حليب بودره
ربع كوب ماء او اكثر قليلا
ربع ملعقه صغيره نسكافيه
نضع 4 كوب طحين مع الهيل و الخميرة و السكر و نخلطهم جيدا .
2- نضيف الزبدة و الماء و الحليب و اللبن و البيض ثم نشغل العجانه حتى تتجمع المكونات و تشكل العجينة، اذا كانت لينة نضيف بالتدريج نصف الكوب الباقى من الطحين الى أن تنفصل العجينة عن الجوانب ثم تعجن العجين على الاقل 5 دقائق
3- نغطي العجين و نتركها ترتاح حتى تختمر وتتضاعف .
4- نضغط بيدينا على العجينة بهدوء لنسمح للهواء بالخروج منها ونتركها ربع ساعة ترتاح.
5- نقطعها الى أقسام دائريـة متوسطة(انا اقطعها عادة الى 7 دوائر) ونفرد كل دائرة لتصبح بشكل مستطيل
6- نعجن التمر مع الزبده و البهارات ثم نشكل التمر المعجون على شكل حبل و نضعه على طرف مستطيل العجين من جهه الضلع الاطول

7-نلف العجين حول التمر ليصبح لدينا انبوب من العجين مركزه التمر
8-نلصق طرفي الانبوب ببعضهما ليصبح لدينا دائرة
9-باستخدام السكين أو المقص ( المقص افضل) نقص اطراف العجين دون قطعها بشكل كامل ليصبح شكلها مثل الورده
10-نخلط مكونات التلميع و ندهن الدوائر بخليط التلميع و

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Coconut quinoa pudding

Quinoa coconut pudding

For the month of Nov my Secret recipe club  assignment was Le Andra’s blog  love and flour.

LeAndra describes herself as “currently a Charlottean, I write in the corporate world by day and bake/blog by night”.When asked why she loves baking, her reply is :”  because people will do anything if you bribe them with cookies.” :) Love her sense of humor

I have to admit that I  had to laugh at a segment in her about page “I am grateful to my mother for preparing homemade meals nearly every day and  for handing down to me the maddening-to-others habit of leaving each and every cabinet door open when I am working in the kitchen.”

I do that sometimes, especially when my mind is pre-occupied with something and it drives my husband completely mad :) I was glad to know that I am not the only one.

coconut quinoa pudding

As I went through Love and flour’s archives, I bookmarked a number of recipes but I was particularly drawn to her quinoa recipe collection. It was a toss up between Quinoa Patties with Corn, Feta and Zucchini and her  coconut quinoa. But since I love both coconut and quinoa yet I never thought of putting the two together !I  decided to go with the coconut.

My only modification was to make the coconut quinoa sweet by adding a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla.  The result was ambrosial! The  creamy richness of the coconut on a canvas of nutty quinoa with a hint of sweetness and a hint of vanilla!

Coconut quinoa pudding title

  • 2 cup coconut milk
  • Pinch of  salt
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dried coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Rinse the quinoa well
  2. Combine the coconut milk, salt, sugar, dried coconut and vanilla in a medium saucepan.
  3. Add the quinoa and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring occasionally
  4. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes more (Check on it after 10 and 15 minutes to see if the quinoa absorbed the liquid)
  5. When the quinoa absorbs all the liquid, remove from heat and keep covered to steam for 5 minutes.
  6. Fluff with a fork and serve with a drizzle of honey

coconut quinoa


For more on how to cook quinoa perfectly, you can check out my quinoa salad with corn and black beans

My quinoa is bitter, how can I make it less bitter? Nearly, if not all, of the natural bitterness of quinoa’s outer coating can be removed by a vigorous rinsing in a mesh strainer. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer(you want something with small holes or else the quinoa will go through it), and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing, and rinse for at least 2 minutes under the running water.

Romanieh (lentils and eggplants cooked in pomegranate sauce)

romanieh (Eggplant and lentils cooked in pomegranate sauce)
In January, I went back home to Jenin for a visit and the trip was bitter sweet. Just crossing the border makes my soul sing. I know this may sound crazy to some but to me, the earth there is different, the sky is different, the very air you breath is different.Simply put, I feel at home!
No matter where I am, my heart is always there..My grandmother used to say that we are just like the olive trees..our roots dig deep into this land..this is where we belong
hundreds of years old olive tree

500 year old olive tree

Yet, it is never easy to see your land, crippled by an occupation,  to see cities look old and tired,as if forgotten by time, to see people suffer with beat up economy, to wish you could pray in Jerusalem but never be granted the permission to do so.To face an ugly horrible wall that makes you feel you are walking in one big giant prison
Israeli wall in the west bank

Israeli wall in the west bank

Israeli wall
To take pictures of your grand parents’ home through a hole in the wall. The house is sad and empty. The trees carry fruits that no one can pick. The kids who once grew here are now old men and women scattered in a dozen countries, they don’t have the permission to live in their own home!
Old home
Palestinian home
One of the reasons why I started and then maintained this blog was to help spread easy and authentic Middle Eastern and particularly Palestinian recipes. At a time when everything Palestinian seems to be under attack. Our land, our food, our traditional cloths were stolen and now they are being marketed as Israeli. It makes my blood boil and  I feel like the least I can do is document our food identity,one post at a time, one recipe at a time.
I am here to tell as many people as I can that it is called Palestinian Maftoul not Israeli couscous, it is an Arabic salad not an Israeli salad, and the gazan dagga is a celebration of the amazing gazan people who can take the heat and rise from the ashes time after time.
Today,since I am sharing another traditional Palestinian recipe, I thought I would give you a glimpse of my trip back home. I’ll start with my visit to Nablus.
nablus city Nablus palestine
 Nablus was founded by the Roman Emperor Vespasian in 72 CE as Flavia Neapolis. The city takes pride in its almost 2,000-year-long history and there is no better way to enjoy it than to take a walk down the old market.
Old market
 Whether you are shopping for souvenirs
Palestine- nablus
Or looking to enjoy some of the local food the market has to offer :pickled olives,  Nabulsi cheese , dried fruits or Nabulsi soap (sabon nabulsi) which  is a type of castile soap produced only in Nablus out of  virgin olive oil
Nablus market
 Araies (Pita bread stuffed with minced meat, herbs and spices then grilled to perfection)
 Pita bread
Korshaleh (Tea time crackers, usually dunked in tea)
tea crackers
 If you are shopping for traditional sweets, Nablus is the place to  go to!
sweets 2
Nablus sweets
 I loved watching this guy make koolaj, which are paper thin sheets of dough, something very similar to phylo. Koolaj is usually stuffed with nuts or cheese, it is then baked, then drizzled with a rosewater scented syrup. The outer layers of dough become crisp and crunchy while the inner layers absorb the syrup and take on the spices usually mixed with the filling. The result is simply irresistible!
kolaj and kataief
 Atayef cart! I have never seen atayef being sold on a cart!I usually I buy it from a bakery or  make it home
atayef cart
We ended the trip with praying in  Al hanbali mosque, this mosque has been in the old city since the 16th century, it is famous for the beautiful wood work and marble columns
hanbali mosque Al hanbali mosque Al hanbali
 Now back to the recipe :)
Palestinian Romania
Romanya is recipe mostly associated with the city of Jaffa.The recipe and the ingredients are pretty simple but the result is far from it. When you try this for the first time, you’ll  get  complex layers of flavor and texture that will have you reaching for spoonful after spoonful trying to decide what it is that you like so much about romanieh. Is it the creamy eggplant? the sweet and sour notes of the pomegranate molasses? the earthy nuttiness of the lentils?or is it simply the irresistable combination?


Recipe source: My friend Nisreen Rahhal

1 cup green lentils

7-9 cups of water

2 medium eggplants (peeled and cut into cubes  ‘see notes’)

1 cup sour pomegranate juice (or 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses+ juice of 2 lemons)

1 teaspoon cumin

Salt to taste

6 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon sumac

1 and 1/2 tablespoons flour

4-6 tablespoons olive oil


Add 7 cups of water, cumin and  and the lentils to a pot

Bring the water to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer.

Cook until the lentils are almost done (the time will vary depending on the type of lentils you use)

If the lentils absorb most of the water add 1-2 cups of warm water

Add the eggplant and half of the minced garlic and cook until the cubes are soft and cooked through

Add the salt and sumac

In a small bowl, mix the flour, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice until homogenous

Add the lemon flour pomegranate mix to the eggplants and lentils and stir until the mix thickens

In a pan, saute the remaining minced garlic in the olive oil until the garlic turns golden

Pour the olive oil and garlic into the lentil and eggplant pot and stir

Take the pot off the heat and ladle into the serving plate while hot

Decorate with parsley and pomegranate seeds, you can eat romania with pita bread or using a spoon


You can keep the eggplant peel if you like, it will give a more intense eggplant taste and a deeper color to the end result. I usually peel one egg plant and leave the skin on the other

romanieh (Eggplant and lentils cooked in pomegranate sauce)

(وصفه الرمانيه (حبة رمان

كوب عدس بني،
حبتين باذنجان متوسطه الحجم مقشره و مقطعه مكعبات متوسطه الحجم،
عصير رمانه حامضه و في حال عدم توفر الرمان الحامض نستبدلها بملعقتين طعام من دبس الرمان مضاف لهم عصير ليمونتين،
ملعقه صغيره كمون،
ملح حسب الرغبه،
 سته اسنان توم مدقوق،
ملعقه كبيره سماق ،
شطه او فلفل حار حسب الرغبه و حسب الذوق ممكن الاستغناء عنها،
ملعقه كبيره و نصف طحين.
يغسل العدس و يسلق بكميه مناسبه من الماء،مع اضافه الكمون ،
عند اقتراب نضوجه يضاف مكعبات الباذنجان و نصف كميه الثوم المدقوق و يترك ليغلي قليلا حتى استواء الباذنجان،
نضيف الملح و الشطه و السماق يحرك المزيج
 يذاب الطحين جيدا في دبس الرمان المخلوط مع عصير الليمون، ثم يضاف الى العدس مع التحريك حتى يسمك القوام
في مقلاه مع قليل من زيت الزيتون نقلي كميه التوم المتبقية حتى يحمر و نضيفه فوق خليط العدس و نحرك قليلا ثم نطفي النار .
و يسكب في صحون وتؤكل الرمانية بارده مع الخبز او بالملعقه:)

Austrian Sachertorte


The October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen. She took us to Austria and introduced us to the wonders of the Sachertorte.

The Sachertorte is an elegant chocolate cake filled with apricot jam, covered with a smooth, fudge-like chocolate glaze, and decorated with chocolate piping and the word “Sacher” written across the top. Each slice is served with a generous portion of schlag (unsweetened whipped cream), meant for dipping each bite of cake in to balance the sweetness and texture.

The Sachertorte was first created in Austria in 1832 when Prince Metternich requested a fancy dessert for his dinner guests. His pastry chef was ill that night, so the task fell to the apprentice, Franz Sacher, who came up with the now famous cake that bears his name. Franz built a career on that cake, and his son Eduard later opened the Sacher Hotel in Vienna where Franz’s cake, made according to the hotel’s original and closely-guarded secret recipe, is served to this day (and can also be ordered online and shipped worldwide). The cake is so popular in Vienna that it has become an integral part of the city’s kaffeehaus tradition, with local bakeries and cafés serving up their own versions along with a dollop of schlag and a cup of steaming hot coffee.Sachertorte chef in disguise
Challenges like these are why I love the daring kitchen. Not only do we step outside our comfort zone to try something new but we also learn so much along the way. Take this challenge for example, we get to make a sponge cake, a chocolate glaze, writing chocolate, practice filling, glazing and piping. It sounds intimidating but the truth is, no one is there to judge you, the community at the daring kitchen is very supportive and to top that off, by the end of the day, you have a delicious creation to enjoy.
I really loved this challenge although I did a horrible job at piping the word Sacher on top of the cake. I used the writing chocolate when it was a little too warm, so it was runny but I still loved the practice and I know I will do better the next time I make this (and there is definitely a next time).
Sachertorte if you have never tried it before is a real treat. Intense chocolate notes beautifully complimented by the fruity apricot jam. Dipped in a little schlag (unsweetened whipping cream) your taste buds get to indulge in the contrast between the smooth cream, velvety rich ganache, the light and fluffy cake and the fruity jam.
I stuck to Korena’s recipe with two exception. I used 50:50 milk chocolate:70% cocoa chocolate because that’s the combination my kids like. The other change I did was to use chocolate ganache instead of the chocolate glaze because I don’t have a candy thermometer at the moment and I was scared I would miss up the glaze, so I took the safe way and used ganache. I listed both recipes, you can choose whichever one you like.
Thank you Korena for another amazing challenge!

Recipe Source:
Kaffeehaus: The Best Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague by Rick Rodgers, via Epicurious.

Writing chocolate from


Servings: 12-16

Cake Ingredients
¾ cup (180 gm) (4½ oz) (125 gm) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
9 tablespoons (135 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) confectioners’ sugar (aka icing sugar or powdered sugar)
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature (see note above about egg whites)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
½ cup (120 ml) (7 oz) (100 gm) granulated sugar
1 cup (120 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour (for volume measurement, spoon gently into measuring cup and level top)
pinch fine grain salt

Apricot Glaze (see recipe below)
Chocolate Glaze (see recipe below)
Writing Chocolate (see recipe below)
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream, cold


1. Preheat oven to moderately hot 375˚F/350°F fan/190˚C/gas mark 5 with a rack in the centre of the oven. Butter and flower the sides of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
2. Place the bittersweet chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and heat over a small saucepan of barely simmering water (make sure that the bowl is not touching the simmering water) or in the microwave until just melted. Set aside to cool completely, stirring often.

 double broil

3. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or electric mixer on medium speed until very light and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar on low speed, then increase to medium speed and beat again until light and creamy.
4. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
5. Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla and beat until well-mixed and very light and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

6. In a scrupulously clean bowl using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with about one tablespoon of the granulated sugar on high speed until foamy.


Gradually add in the rest of the granulated sugar and continue beating the whites until they form soft, shiny peaks – they should hold their shape but flop over on themselves.


7. Vigorously stir about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a spatula until just a few wisps of egg white remain. Do this carefully so as not to deflate the egg whites.


8. Stir together the flour and salt and sift half of it over the chocolate mixture. Fold in with a spatula until almost incorporated. Sift over the remaining flour and fold to combine completely.


9. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared springform pan.

10. Bake in the preheated moderately hot 375˚F/350°F fan/190˚C/gas mark 5 oven for 35-45 minutes (mine took exactly 40 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The cake will crack and dome in the middle as it bakes but will flatten out as it cools.


11. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan and remove the sides. Carefully invert the cake onto a rack and remove the bottom of the pan and parchment paper, then turn the cake right-side up onto a rack and allow to cool completely.

12. Assembly: Turn the cake upside-down so that the perfectly flat bottom of the cake is now the top. Cut the cake horizontally into 2 even layers.
13. Place 1 cake layer on the 8½-inch (22 cm) cardboard cake round and spread it generously with about half of the apricot glaze. Allow it to soak in.

14. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the top and sides with the remaining apricot glaze. Work quickly before the glaze has a chance to set and use a metal offset spatula to smooth the top. Place the cake on a rack set over a plate or baking sheet lined with waxed paper and allow the apricot glaze to set.

apricot glaze

15. Make the chocolate glaze (it must be used immediately, while still hot) and pour it over the top of the cake, first around the edge and then in the middle. Spread the excess glaze over any bare spots using a metal offset spatula. Before the glaze has a chance to set, move the cake to a serving platter.


16. With the writing chocolate, pipe the word “Sacher” in the middle of the cake and add any decorative flourishes you wish. Chill the cake until the glaze is completely set, at least 1 hour.

17. To serve: Let the cake come to room temperature for about 1 hour before serving. Whip the cream to soft peaks (this is best done in a cold bowl with cold beaters). If desired, sweeten it with icing sugar to taste.

18. Cut the Sachertorte into wedges with a large sharp knife dipped in hot water and wipe off the blade between cuts. Serve each wedge of cake with a large dollop of whipped cream.

sacher cake

Apricot Glaze

Servings: 1 quantity (about 1 cup)

1¼ cup (300 ml) (14 oz) (400 gm) apricot jam or preserves
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water


1. Boil the jam and water in a small saucepan over medium heat.
2. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and drips slowly from the spoon, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Strain through a wire mesh sieve, pressing firmly on the solids. You should have about 1 cup of glaze. Use warm.

Chocolate Glaze

Servings: 1 quantity

1 cup (240 ml) (7 oz) (200 g) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 ml) water
(4 oz) (115 gm) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped


1. Place the sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
2. Attach a candy thermometer and cook, stirring, until the mixture reaches 234˚F/112°C, about 5 minutes. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, use the method explained in this video.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. It might thicken up quite a bit. If it does, return it to low heat and add a few drops of water if necessary to thin it out to a runny, pourable consistency. The glaze should be smooth and shiny.

4. Off the heat, stir the glaze for 30-60 seconds to cool it slightly, then immediately use it to glaze the cake.
5. Any excess glaze can be stored in a container in the fridge and added to a mug of hot milk to make hot chocolate.


1:1 ratio chocolate: heavy cream

200 grams chocolate (I used 100 gm 70% cocoa chocolate and 100 grams milk chocolate)
200 ml cream
Chop the chocolate
Warm the cream in the microwave or on the stove top until it comes to a simmer but don’t allow it to come to a boil
Pour the cream over the chocolate and leave it for 3-5 minutes
Using a spatula, stir the chocolate and cream till the chocolate dissolves completely
At first you will think there is too much cream but as you keep stirring you will see it is not
Allow the ganache to cool down for 10 minutes then pour it over the cake

Writing Chocolate

Servings: 1 quantity

¼ cup (60 ml) (1.8 oz) (50 gm) chopped good quality chocolate
½ – 1 teaspoons vegetable oil


1. Heat the chocolate until just melted, then stir in enough vegetable oil to get a pipeable consistency. If necessary, let the chocolate mixture cool slightly to thicken so that it is not too runny.

writing chocolate
2. Place the chocolate in a disposable piping bag or small Ziplock bag and snip off the tip to make a small hole. I recommend a practice run on waxed paper before writing on the cake.

Tip:I usually place the bag into a glass, that makes pouring the chocolate into it easier

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
The cake can be stored up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature.


As is typical with European-style cakes, this one is a little drier and sturdier than the American-style butter cakes that many of us may be familiar with. This is the reason that Sachertorte is served with whipped cream – for moisture! If you are concerned that your cake is going to be too dry, you can make a simple syrup (boil together equal parts by weight of water and sugar; let cool) to brush over the cake layers after you’ve split them. The apricot glaze also adds some moisture. That said, I personally didn’t find the cake dry.

The cake relies on egg whites for volume rather than chemical leavening such as baking powder or baking soda. For your egg whites to whip properly, you need to make sure that they and every bowl, spoon, or whisk that touches them are 100% free of any fat (ie, egg yolks) or grease. I like to wipe down my bowl and whisk with a vinegar-moistened paper towel to make sure they are totally grease-free. Be very careful when separating your whites and yolks: even a speck of yolk in the whites can prevent them from whipping up properly.

Use high quality bittersweet chocolate in this recipe – the ingredients are fairly simple, so quality makes a big difference! (I used Callebaut bittersweet callets, which look like chocolate chips but are pure chocolate with none of the additives that chocolate chips usually contain.)

Definitely use a cardboard cake round to assemble the cake on – it will make it much, much easier to move the cake after glazing it (I wish I’d used one).

Mamonia (Syrian semolina pudding)

Mamounia (Syrian semolina pudding)

Our Arabic Flavor  recipe for  the month of September was Mamounia, a wonderful Syrian dessert that comes from the city of Aleppo.

Mamounia is a smooth and velvety semolina pudding that is usually topped with cinnamon and nuts and it is served with string cheese, cream and pita bread. I know the idea of combining pudding with bread and cheese may seem odd  at first but keep in mind that this is a breakfast dish in Syria. The mamounia pudding is served early in the morning to provide a sweet start of the day that will  give you rnough energy to sustain you all day long. While the cheese and the bread are added to balance the sweetness of the mamounia.

That being said, I have never eaten mamonia for breakfast. I usually serve it as a dessert topped with chopped pistachio but you can use any nuts you like. You can also add a dusting of cinnamon and a dollop of cream, serve it warm for a wonderfully comforting winter dessert or you can serve it cold out of the fridge in the summer.

Whichever way you decide to serve it, mamounia is definitely a recipe worth trying, I do hope you will give it a try.

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