Recipe: Algerian Date Newtons (Markroud)

Algerian Date Newtons / Photo: Farid Zadi
Algerian Date Newtons / Photo: Farid Zadi

During the month of Ramadan, the daily fast is traditionally broken with three dates at the iftar meal. As Ramadan comes to an end on Friday evening, chef Farid Zadi of Revolutionario in Exposition Park shares his recipe for North African date pastries that can be made any time of the year. You can use dried figs or dried apricots, too. Enjoy!

Algerian Date Newtons (Markroud)

2 cups fine semolina
1/4 cup flour
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
2/3 cup water
Zest of half a medium sized orange
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Date filling
1 cup dates, pitted (You can substitute dried figs or dried apricots)
1/4 orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of half a medium sized lemon
pinch of salt

1/4 cup honey
1/4 orange juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Neutral oil for frying, canola or grapeseed

Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a large mixing bowl. Mix with your hands or a mixing spoon until the ingredients are just combined. Do not over mix. The dough should be like a short bread cookie dough. It will be soft and a bit a grainy to the touch. Divide dough into four balls, wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Combine all the ingredients for the date filling in a sauce pan and heat through over medium heat, for about 3 minutes. Remove from stove top and let cool.

Combine all the ingredients for the syrup in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Remove one ball of dough from the refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. Place a long piece of plastic wrap (at least 14-inches) on the kitchen counter or work table. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a rectangle approximately 10 inches long and 5 inches wide. Take 1/4 of the date filling and spread an inch-wide log of filling in the center of the dough going lengthwise. Fold each lengthwise edge of dough over the filling to form a cylinder. Gently smooth down edges with your finger tips. Wrap in plastic wrap and very gently shape into a long rectangle. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Cut the filled dough into 3/4 inch lozenges (a diagonal cut). Add about 1 inch of oil to a frying pan and heat to approximately 340 degrees. Fry about 8 pieces of makroud at a time until deep golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined plate or cookie sheet.

Brush cookies with honey citrus syrup.


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