Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Moroccan Marbles

Almonds, dates and sesame seeds are all ingredients commonly used in Moroccan fare. Here's my recipe for a Moroccan flavour-inspired treat that I like to call Moroccan Marbles.

To begin, set up a contraption similar to this one. You will need a pot filled with approximately 1 inch of water and a strainer that is able to sit atop without being immersed in the water. You can also use the steamer for this purpose. (I don't have one, so I improvised.)

Next, you will need a handful, or so, of Medjool dates. (For information on Medjool dates, click here.)

Set the dates on top of the strainer and steam them for approximately 10-15 minutes. The steaming process will loosen them up, making them soft and sticky.

Once steamed, pit the dates.

Using a sharp knife, mulch the dates so that they become a paste. Once complete, set it aside.

You will also require some almond paste. Almond paste is similar to marzipan, but often contains fewer ingredients. It is usually comprised of almonds, sugar and water. It has a firm, but pliable texture, a sweet aroma and a very strong almond flavour. I found this small slab at JohnVince Foods (in North York, Ontario) for just less than $2.00 CAD.

On a clean surface and using a rolling pin, roll out the almond paste so that it is approximately between 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick.

Smear the date paste over the rolled-out almond paste.

Now, we will begin to make the marbling. Fold the paste-sheet in half.

Roll the folded sheet so that it flattens to the approximate thickness you started with. (There are no rules and you cannot make them too thin or too thick. We are really just trying to incorporate the two ingredients together.)

Make a second fold.

Roll it out a second time.

Make a third fold...

...and roll it out. This amount of mixing should be enough for our purpose.

Starting from one end, pinch out a section of paste.

Using the palms of your hands, roll them out into little marbles.

Repeat this process until you have a surface full of marbles.

Now comes the missing flavour; sesame seeds.

Gently roll each ball in a bowl full of sesame seeds. You will not need to use much pressure, as the oil from the almonds and the stickiness of the dates will help adhere the sesame seeds to the sides.

I like to put each marble in a mini cupcake paper.

These little treats are very addictive and will be a hit at your next gathering!

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