Christmas fruit mince ma’mool from "Rumi" by Joseph Abboud
I was very excited when I came up with this idea. It was around Christmas time when some fruit mince pies caught my eye because they looked like misshapen ma’mool. I couldn’t get past the idea of a cross-cultural biscuit that represented my world: a Lebanese man married to an Australian woman with three little mince ma’mool.
I love that the Anglo fruit mince Christmas tart and the ma’mool that appears at my Lebanese family Easter is also popular during the Lebanese Eid. You will need to start this recipe a few days in advance. You can find a beautiful ma’mool mould from a Middle Eastern grocer.
icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting
125 g (4 ½ oz) brown sugar
100 g (3 ½ oz) raisins
1 apple, grated
50 g (1¾ oz) barberries
juice and zest of 1 orange
50 g (1¾oz) medjool dates, pitted and chopped
50 g (1¾ oz) dried figs, chopped
50 g (1¾ oz) currants
50 ml (1¾ fl oz) muscat
1 ½ tablespoons almond meal
50 g (1 ¾ oz) ghee, melted
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground ginger
720 g (4 cups) fine semolina
300 g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) butter, melted
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons orange-blossom water or rose water
60 g (2 ¼ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
150 ml (5 fl oz) warm full-cream milk
For the filling, place all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well and refrigerate. This is best done a few days in advance.
To make the pastry, mix the semolina and flour well, then add the melted butter and mix thoroughly to ensure the flours are coated in the butter. Mix all the other ingredients separately, then add to the flour mixture, combining well. Bring together into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and rest the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and divide into 36 balls, each about 45 g (1¾ oz).
Take a ball of pastry and use your fingers to press it into a small cup shape with a hollow a bit bigger than the size of a walnut. Fill the hollow with 1 teaspoon of the fruit mixture, then close the edges of the pastry over the mixture. Roll into a ball, ensuring that no fruit mince escapes, and put to one side. Continue until you have used all the pastry and filling. By the time you’ve finished you’ll have worked out the best way for you to stuff the pastry; next time it will be so much easier!
Carefully but firmly press each ball into a ma’mool mould, flattening the base. Remove from the mould by turning it upside down and tapping the mould on your bench to release.
Place the ma’mool on the baking trays and bake for about 20 minutes, removing them as they begin to colour. Allow to cool then dust with icing sugar.
‘Images and text from Rumi by Joseph Abboud, photography by Armelle Habib. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.’