Mmmmm...Msemen

(with amlou)

If there's one thing Morocco has nailed, it's these golden squares of warm layered buttery pastry pancakes. O.M.G I'm salivating as I write! These soft, chewy beauties are sold in most cafes, souks and street food stalls...but go into any Moroccan home and you'll find (of course) mama's are the best.
You can fill your msemen with anything - soft cheese, honey, chocolate spread, butter...or my favourite...amlou. Another Moroccan food triumph, a nutty runny spread that is the perfect combo of almond butter, argan oil and honey. Try not to go too crazy with the topping!
Ok enough said, I hear your stomach rumbling from here. Check out the recipes for both dreams below, and let me know how it goes!

Bon appetit!!

 

Msemen Recipe

 

Author: Azlin Bloor (via Linsfood)
Prep Time: 45 minutes
​Cook Time: 30 minutes
​Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: Makes 12–15 msemen
Ingredients
  • 300g (10.5 oz) plain flour
  • 200g (7 oz) fine semolina
  • 1/2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 300ml (1 1/5 cup) warm water
  • 100g (3.5 oz) salted butter, at room temperature (optional)
  • Extra flour for kneading
For rolling and cooking
  • about 100ml (2/5 cup) vegetable oil
  • extra semolina for folding
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
Instructions
Mixing and resting the dough
  1. Place the top 5 dry ingredients into a large, roomy bowl.
  2. Make a well in the centre and gradually pour about 250ml (1 cup) of the water in while mixing the flour with the water with your hand or in a mixer.
  3. Add a little more water, very little at a time, as you bring it all together with your hands. Be careful with the water, err on the side of caution and be stingy. You want a dough that feels dry and not at all sticky. If you’ve added too much water and the dough sticks to your hands, just add a little more flour.
  4. Lightly flour a work surface and tip the dough onto it.
  5. Flour your hands and knead the dough for a good 5 minutes (I’m afraid so) until it’s all smooth. Or 1 minute in a mixer. You’ll start feeling the difference in texture very quickly on your hands. If you got the water balance right, the dough shouldn’t stick and you shouldn’t need much flour. If it’s sticky, not the end of the world, just use a little more flour.
  6. Get a large baking sheet or tray and oil generously.
  7. With well oiled hands, divide your dough into 12 little balls and place them on the baking sheet.
  8. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave aside for 30 minutes to rest and proof.
Rolling and cooking Msemen
  1. Mix the semolina and baking powder.
  2. Now comes the rather fun part! Oil your hands and work surface generously and start flattening the balls individually into the usual round shape with the palm of your hands or your fingers (see gallery above).
  3. Dot with butter, if using, and sprinkle with the semolina and baking powder mix. Fold one side in as in the picture above (first fold).
  4. Sprinkle semolina mix and fold the other side in.
  5. Sprinkle semolina mix and fold the two longer ends in as the pictures above, sprinkling semolina again before the final fold.
  6. Place back on the baking sheet and do the same with the other dough balls. You will need another baking sheet or tray for this step.
  7. When done, cover with damp tea towel again and let rest for another 10 minutes.
  8. When the time is up, take a square piece out and place it on your oiled work surface. Once again, using your hands pat down and out to enlarge the square to roughly about 2 times its previous size. If you’re happy with how quickly this can be done, get 2-3 done then move on to the next step and start cooking. But if you’d rather, flatten them all out to cook first. Mind you, that’ll be a lot of surface covered up by the unfried msemen!
  9. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a crêpe pan, flat Indian griddle (tawa) or an ordinary frying pan on medium high heat.
  10. Place one msemen on the pan and fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side, flipping over at least twice on each side. Don’t worry about any puffing up.
  11. To ensure even browning, take a clean tea towel, bunch it up and press down on the msemen for a few seconds, moving along the square bread. Or just use your spatula to press down.
  12. Halfway through, pour another tbsp of oil around the msemen.
  13. When done, turn out onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil and keep warm while you get the rest done.
  14. Go get your amlou...
Amlou Recipe
Author: Michelle Minaar (via Greedy Gourmet)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
​Cook Time: 10 minutes
​Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: A medium sized jar
Ingredients
  • 500g (4 cups) raw, whole almonds
  • Salt
  • 250ml (1 cup) Argan oil
  • 125ml (½ cup) honey
 
Instructions
  1. Heat a frying pan and add the almonds and the salt. The amount of salt you use depends on how salty you would like the almonds to be. The goal is to give the almonds a light dusting of salt and giving them a lovely crunchy flavour.
  2. Continuously stir the almond in the salt until you can smell the nutty aroma emanating from them. Their hue would change too to a brighter brown. You can test my eating one to verify whether it’s toasted.
  3. Place the almonds in a sieve to get rid of the excess salt and give a good shake. The salt can be reused for cooking.
  4. After the nuts have cooled down, place them in a food processor. The more powerful the latter, the smoother the Amlou’s texture would be. Process the nuts as fine as possible.
  5. Place the roasted, ground almonds in a large bowl then add the oil and honey.
  6. Store in sealable containers.
 
Notes
  • Alternatively, you can roast the almonds in the oven and add salt to taste in the end when you stir in the oil and honey.
  • This recipe can be tweaked to your taste. For a thicker consistency use less oil and honey and vice versa. 

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