I thought I would post a sweet recipe for us all to devour.  Traditionally, served in our house over Easter and Christmas, this date cookie is a massive favourite of mine and I love having it with a cup of English breakfast tea!  Kleicha, as it’s knows, are made with a walnut filling or a date filling, both are equally delicious.

The date paste can be found in most Middle Eastern supermarkets and is usually packaged in 1kg blocks.

Makes 40 pieces

Ingredients

  • 600g plain ‘OO’ flour
  • 200g melted Stork butter
  • 1 tbs dry yeast
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • ½ tbs salt
  • 5 tbls water
  • 2 tbls nigella seeds
  • 600g packet of date paste
  • 3 tbls sunflower oil
  • 1 tbls cardamom
  • 2 large sandwich bags (cut open)
  • 1 egg

 

Method

Pastry

  • Begin by making the pastry. In a food mixer, add the flour, melted butter, yeast, and sugar.  Next add the salt, but please ensure you place the salt as far away from the yeast, as they cancel each other out.
  • On a low setting, mix the ingredients together. You are looking for almost a pizza dough texture.  Add water gradually and if you feel the mix needs more, then add.  When you feel it is close, add the nigella seeds.
  • Once blended, push the dough with your hand, there should be a spring in the dough and it should feel moist.
  • Place in a bowl and cover with a towel – leave to rest for 40 minutes to allow the yeast activate.

 

Date Mix

  • While the pastry is resting, start on the date mix.
  • Begin by heating a large saucepan with the sunflower oil. Add the date mixture.  It will seem hard at first, however, as the pan heats up, the date mix should begin to soften.  Add the cardamom powder.
  • Keep stirring and folding it. You are looking for a soft texture that can easily be rolled.
  • After the pastry has risen, separate it into 4 pieces.
  • On a floured surface roll the pastry out into a rectangle shape. You are looking for the longest part to be vertical and the shortest, horizontal to you.
  • Seperately, take your sandwich bag and place a ball of date paste (size of a small apple) on top, and then place another sandwich bag on top of the date. Roll the date paste out to a similar shape of the rectangular pastry, it should be easy to shape/mould.
  • Peel away the top layer and place the dates on top of the pastry. Remove all of the plastic from the dates.  Any gaps on the pastry, you can just fill it in with extra date paste.
  • Next, shape your cookies. Begin from the vertical side and roll from right to left.  You are looking for a tight roll.  Start from the top and work your way down.
  • Take your rolled pastry and cut the kleicha as you see fit. Traditionally, 2-3 inches in size.
  • Brush with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 180°C. You are looking for a golden colour and the smells should be wonderful.
  • Repeat for the other 3 batches.
  • Make yourself a cuppa and enjoy!!!
phil

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  • Matt says:

    This is great stuff. I can’t wait to get home and try making some of these meals for friends and family; give them a broader sense of the beautiful and unique Iraqi culture I’ve been able to experience. Thanks for your hard work. I am glad it is bringing you and your family positive recognition.