Baba

Baba

Date-filled pastries

By
From
Cooking from the Heart
Makes
25-30
Photographer
Mark Roper

Iraqi pastries are generally made in bulk to be eaten at New Year or other chags. The pastries are eaten at all hours. In my home, there was excitement in the air as my mum prepared to bake. The morning started with all the dough being made and the fillings being prepared. The baking took place from lunch to about 4 pm, and the house was filled with different aromas. The speed at which my mum worked was a sight to behold. The trays were very quickly filled and popped into the ovens. Mum generally made about 1000 crescent-shaped pieces, each one perfectly sized and crimped.

Filling

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g dates, pitted and washed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 tablespoons walnuts, crushed

Dough

Quantity Ingredient
3-5g dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar
500g plain flour
125g margarine or unsalted butter, at room temperature

Method

  1. To make the filling, put the dates and oil in a microwave-proof bowl and briefly soften them in the microwave. Add the sesame seeds and vanilla, then mash until the mixture is soft and spreadable. Add a little water if necessary to ensure the mixture is spreadable.
  2. To make the dough, combine the yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl with ½ cup lukewarm water and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until the yeast bubbles.
  3. Mix the flour and margarine until smooth, either by hand or using an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast mixture. Add enough water (about ½ cup) to ensure the dough is firm and smooth, but not sticky. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease a large baking tray or line with baking paper.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Roll the dough into a thin rectangle. Spread with the date filling and sprinkle with the walnuts. Roll the dough up from the short edge, then slice the roll into pinwheels.
  6. Place the pinwheels on the baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Tags:
Jewish
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