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Palestinian cookies for Easter

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 18.02.2006:

These cookies are especially made at Easter. They can be prepared with dates or walnuts. Made with dates the kaek is said to resemble the crown of Jesus when He was nailed on the cross. With walnuts, the kaek is compared with the sponge from which Jesus drank water when he carried the cross. Christians prepare them also at Christmas. This recipe is known by Moslem families and made in the same way.

3 kilo semolina

5 packages of margarine, 200 gram each

1 cup corn oil or olive oil

5 packets of dates (500 gram each)

3 tablespoons yeast

sugar

mahlab

mistika (Arab gum)

cinnamon

nutmeg

nuts

olive oil

rose water

Heat the margarine until it is liquid. Pour the fat over the semolina and mix it well. Leave it for 2 days.

Mix the yeast and sugar with some warm water (not hot). Add this to the semolina. Mix the mahlab with the Arab gum and some water until it becomes a pastry.

Clean the dates and add cinnamon, nutmeg and olive oil to form the workable dough. Shape the pieces of semolina into ping pong balls. Stuff them with dates and put them aside for at least three hours. Place the tray in the middle rack of a hot oven for half an hour on middle heat. Add sugar on top before serving. Rasp 3 or 4 a little bit and mix them with olive oil.

Shape each ball into a rectangle 10 cm. x 3 cm. Place a long piece of dates in the middle. Roll, form a circle by putting one end over the other.

Flatten the dough. Cover with smaller layer of dates. Fold ends towards the circle.

Smooth the surface with the fingers. Role it on the table to form a cylinder. Make with your finger a hole in the middle.

From: “Sahteen: Discover the Palestinian Culture by Eating”, published by the Freres School, Bethlehem, part of the Culture and Palestine series issued by the Arab Educational Institute-Open Windows, Bethlehem, 1999. To order the book, send a mail to aei@p-ol.com

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