Date & Pistachio Kleicha

No Iraqi can mark a special occasion, like Eid, without this smooth date paste, wrapped in cardamom infused dough.

It doesn’t matter if you’re welcoming 10 or 50 guests, a big batch is always the way to go – although those biscuits would never hang around that long. Unlike maamoul, its more famous cookie cousin from the Levant, Kleicha dough has no semolina.

These are good for a week in an airtight container or can be frozen once baked and then de-frosted at room temperature.

Traditionally, kleicha is served with warm brewed tea or Arab coffee: sit back, relax and savour the moment!

Ingredients:

Dough

5 cups plain flour

1 cup butter/margarine, melted

1 tbsp active dry yeast

1 tbsp caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

Date Filling

3 cups date paste

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tbsp ground cardamom

1/4 cup ground pistachio

Coating

1 egg yolk

4 tbsp oat milk

Method:

In a mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar. Mix until combined. Form a well in the centre of the flour and add in the butter. While kneading, pour in the water gradually and knead to obtain a soft, slightly moist and homogeneous dough. This should take around 5-10 minutes. Patience is key!

Cover the dough with a cloth and let it rise for one hour in a warm place for an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the date filling. In a large saucepan, heat the coconut oil and add the date paste. It should start to soften; this is when you add the ground cardamom. Continue stirring for 5 minutes until obtaining a smooth texture that can easily be spread and rolled.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Divide the dough into two. On a large sheet of parchment paper, spread the first dough in a rectangle using a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thick.

Similarly, place the date paste between two large sheets of parchment paper and spread it about the same size as the dough, using a rolling pin. Place it onto the dough. Garnish evenly with pistachio.

Starting from the largest part of the rectangle, roll it on itself, tightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and egg yolk and brush the surface of the log you made with this mixture. Cut 1/2 inch thick slices, slicing at the centre first and then into more small pieces.

Place the slices on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, with the opening facing down. Bake for 20 minutes.

Take it out of the oven and allow to cool before serving!

Sarah's Cookery

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