Chapter 5 – Ramadan An event to Share

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Assalamoalykum. A new day begins with new hopes, loads of dreams and aspiration for future. Welcome to the chapter 5 of Ramadan An event to share. Today we are travelling to the lands of Syria with Dimah from Orangeblossomwater. Her space  showcases her love for her country Syria. It’s rich history &  culture , food habits , celebrations. I was a bit hesitant when I approached her for my event, as I knew she had stopped posting due to crisis going in her home country. But sometimes  you need to find acceptance in the  helpless situations you are surrounded and live on praying for new sunrise and with hopes of better tomorrow. This is not about a particular religion or country. Having been raised as a muslim who tries to follow the sunnah of rasool , my heart bleed to each bloodshed and the way we are going forward. Dimah has started a series at her blog , To Aleppo with Love. Please check that also. Over to you Dimah.

Ramadan 2016

I’m Dimah, I was born and raised in Syria. I live in Dubai. My blog Orange Blossom Water “orangeblossomwater.net” is about Syrian Cuisine. Each year, Syrians welcome the month of Ramadan with festive habits and traditions, The various traditions of Ramadan are untied by their spirituality and consecration of the values of goodness, compassion, cooperation among people, and communication and amity among relatives, neighbors and friends. In Ramadan, the Syrian society turns into one big family that follows the same traditions in having two meals a day, Iftar (breakfast meal) and Suhur meal (predawn meal) in addition to practicing religious rites. People go to work and return home to gather around the Iftar table. As part of Ramadan’s traditions, families exchange invitations for Iftar meals presenting various dishes of the Syrian cuisine, including traditional food exclusively served in Ramadan. These visits help keep family ties strong and are a reason for expatriates to spend Ramadan in Syria.

Since 2011 Syria is going through difficult times. I hope Ramadan will be a month of blessing and peace for my country.

Ma'rouk Ramadan

Today I’m sharing with you the recipe of “Ma’rouk Ramadan (Ma’rouk Halab / Ma’rouk Halabi), it is a sweet bread prepared specially for the Holy Month of Ramadan and it is a specialty of Aleppo, but it is also popular in other cities in Syria.

Ma’rouk Ramadan 

Ingredients:
Starter

3/4 tsp active dry yeast

1 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup lukewarm milk

Dough

1 cup + 3/4 cup all purpose flour

14 g unsalted butter, softened

2 tbsp corn oil

1/3 cup minus 1 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup powdered milk

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground mahlab

1/4 tsp ground anise

1/4 tsp ground fennel

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup lukewarm milk

Date Filling

100 g date paste

25 g unsalted butter, softened

Coating

2 tbsp grape molasses

1 tsp sesame seeds

1/2 tsp nigella seeds

Sugar Syrup

1/8 cup sugar

1/8 cup water

Less than 1/8 tsp lemon juice

Method:

Starter

  1. – In a bowl, put 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 cup all purpose flour.
  2. – Add 1/4 cup lukewarm milk, and mix ingredients with your hands until combined.
  3. – Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and with a cloth.
  4. – Keep the starter in a warm place for two hours to rise until double in size and bubbles appear on surface.

Dough

  1. – In a bowl, put 1 cup + 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 14 g softened unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons corn oil.
  2. – Mix ingredients with your hand until sand like mixture forms.
  3. – To the mixture, add 1/3 cup minus 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 cup powdered milk, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
  4. – Add 1/2 teaspoon ground mahlab, 1/4 teaspoon ground anise , 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel, 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  5. – Transfer the mixture of dry ingredients to the bowl of the mixer.
  6. – Add the starter to the dry ingredients.
  7. – Set the bowl in place and attach the dough hook to the mixer head, and turn the mixer on low speed to stir the dry ingredients and the starter.
  8. – With the motor running, add 1/2 cup lukewarm milk and run the mixer, kneading until a mass of dough is formed.
  9. – Continue kneading on medium-high speed until a smooth dough is formed
  10. – Turn out the dough to a surface and shape it into a ball.
  11. – Place the dough in a bowl.
  12. – Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and with a cloth.
  13. – Keep the dough in a warm place for two hours to rise and double in size.
  14. – Weight of dough after doubled in size is 659 g.

Ma’rouk can be prepared in different shapes, the following steps will show you four different shapes. Note: this dough “659 g” is not enough to make all shapes, I prepared two batches of dough for this illustration.

Shape 1: Aqras Ma’rouk

Shape 1 - Aqras Ma'rouk

Aqras is the main traditional shape in Aleppo.

  1. – Measure 150 g of dough.
  2. – Turn out the dough to a surface.
  3. – Shape the dough into a ball.
  4. – Flatten dough with your hand until you get a disc of 5 inch (14 cm) diameter and thickness of 7 mm.
  5. – Line baking sheet with parchment paper, and transfer disc to it.
  6. – I made two discs (Aqras), each one weighs 150 g. Cover with cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes or until double in size.

 

Shape 2: Dfirah (Braid)

Shape 2 - Dfirah (Braid)

  1. – Measure 359 g of dough.
  2. – Divide dough into three equal pieces.
  3. – Turn out the dough to a surface.
  4. – Shape the three pieces of dough into ropes, each rope is 17 inch (45 cm) long.
  5. – Pinch all three pieces together on one end to secure, then braid the ropes together. Pinch the other end of the ropes to secure the braid. I used drops of water to seal both ends.
  6. – Transfer the braid into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. – Cover with a cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes or until double in size.

Shape 3: Rolls

Shape 3 - Rolls

  1.  Measure 120 g of dough.
  2. – Turn out the dough to a surface.
  3. – Shape piece of dough into rope equal to 27 inch (70 cm) long.
  4. – Coil rope into a circle. I used drops of water to seal the end.
  5. – Transfer the roll into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

– I made three rolls, each one weighs 120 g. Cover with a cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes or until double in size.

 

Shape 4: Ma’rouk Bet-Tamer (Ma’rouk With Date Paste)

Shape 4 - Ma’rouk Bet-Tamer (Ma’rouk With Date Paste)

  1. – Measure 100 g date paste.
  2. – Add 25 g softened unsalted butter to date paste.
  3. – Mix together until combined.
  4. – Measure two pieces of dough, each one weighs 150 g.
  5. – Turn out the dough to a surface.
  6. – Shape the dough into a ball.
  7. – Flatten dough with your roller until you get a disc of 8 inch (20 cm) diameter and thickness of 7 mm.
  8. – Both pieces of dough were shaped into discs.
  9. – Spread date paste on disc.
  10. – Make hole in the center of the filling.
  11. – Cover with the other disc, and seal the sides firmly.
  12. – Make hole in the center of the dough.
  13. – Use knife and cut circle into triangles, leave the center uncut.
  14. – Flip each triangle up, so the date filling will be toward you.
  15. – Carefully transfer Ma’rouk into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  16. – Cover with a cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes or until double in size.

 

Coating

  1. – In a bowl, put 2 tablespoons grape molasses.
  2. – Add 1 teaspoon sesame seeds and 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds to molasses, and mix.
  3. – Once ma’rouk is doubled in size, so brush with mixture of molasses and seeds.

Baking

– Heat the oven at 355°F (160 °C) (I’ve done this step of heating oven 15 minutes before placing the baking sheet in oven to bake). Place the baking sheet in the oven (rack position the second from bottom), and bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown in color on bottom, at this point I’ve turned on the upper burner and bake for 4 minutes so the top turned to golden brown

Sugar Syrup

  1. Prepare sugar syrup at same time of baking.
  2. – In a pot put 1/8 cup sugar and 1/8 cup water, turn on heat and stir to dissolve, and keep stirring every once in a while.
  3. – Once the mixture boils, add less than 1/8 tsp lemon juice. Let the mixture boil for 5 – 7 minutes, then turn off heat, and set aside.
  4. – Once you take the baking sheet out of the oven, immediately brush Ma’rouk with hot sugar syrup.
  5. Serving  : Allow Ma’rouk to cool, then serve. Serve with tea. It can be eaten plain or stuffed with (cheese, chocolate, Nutella…). Store Ma’rouk wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge.

Notes and Tips

  1. – The measurements of the recipe will make two Arqas Ma’rouk and one Dfirah (Braid). Or, three Rolls and one Ma’rouk Bet-Tamer (M’arouk With Date Paste).
  2. – When you measure sugar for the dough, make sure to measure (1/3 cup minus 1 tablespoon).
  3. – Store Ma’rouk wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge. I kept Ma’rouk wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for a week and before serving I kept it at room temperature for 1 – 2 hours, it tasted as fresh as the first day. I also stored a batch wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer, at time of serving allowed to thaw at room temperature, and it tasted as fresh as the first day.

Hope you all are enjoying this series as much as I am. To know more about Dimah, you can connect with her : Blog , Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest

5 thoughts on “Chapter 5 – Ramadan An event to Share

    1. Hi Aisha, I'm sorry, but I've never used fresh yeast before. I don’t have any experience converting amounts of dry yeast to fresh. I found several sources indicating how much fresh yeast would be equivalent to a certain amount of dry yeast (such as this one –> http://makebread.com.au/fresh-yeast-conversion/) Hope this helps!
  1. Such a beautiful post, and so much of detail in all those breads... You have a lovely blog, Dimah... We all pray that our brethren in Syria attain peace very soon, InShaAllah... I have colleagues from Syria and it is sad that people are getting affected for no reason of theirs... InShaAllah, inna ma'al usri yusraa...

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