Lebanese Christmas Pastry - Ma`amoul
Today I am kicking of the series of International Christmas Recipes with Arabic Ma'amoul or Mamool. It’s a bit hard to pinpoint were these small sweet treats are from or were they originated. They are eaten in greater middle east including Lebanon. However, a friend of mine assures me that they are eaten in Lebanon for hundreds of years which is way ill take the liberty of calling them lebanese Maamoul.
Ma'amoul are small shortbread pastries filled with dates, pistachios, walnuts or occasionally almonds or Figs (I used dried Figs and Walnuts for my fillings). The distinct shape of these Arab pastries can be achieved by using wooden moulds. There are three different wooden moulds with different shapes indicating which filling the pastry has. However these mould are quite hard fo find, which is way I simply made done shaped balls.
Ma'amoul with date fillings are usually called Menenas, and are sometimes made in the form of date rolls rather than balls or cookies.
Ma'amoul are popular in a number of countries located in the middle east. From Jordan, Syria to Lebanon. In the gulf states Ma'amoul are even packed commercial for export. Now let’s cover the traditional part. Many Muslims eat them at the night during Ramadan and on the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha holidays. Arab Christians in Israel and other Arab countries eat them in the days before Lent, on Easter Sunday. The Greek and Arab Christian traditions shape the cookies differently; they look like rings to symbolize the crown of Jesus. In Lebanon Ma'amoul are eaten with nut fillings on Purim, and Ma'amoul with date fillings are eaten on Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah.
Make sure to try this delicious recipe that is a classic in the Arab regions and eaten during Christmas and many other seasonal holidays.