Kaek- Easter Sweets
Two traditional symbols of Easter sweets in the Middle East
The Kaek : A symbol of the crown of Jesus
1 lb. of semolina, 1 lb. of cream of wheat,4 sticks of unsalted butter, 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1/2 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of rose water, 1 tea spoon of mahlab(optional), 1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 large package of date paste (1lb)
8 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
How to make the Kaak
- Mix the semolina and cream of wheat and sugar to obtain a homogenous mixture. Add the melted butter and mix again very well. Add the milk, and rose water.
- Mix well and leave to rest for a few hours or overnight. Some recipes call for adding 1/2 teaspoon of dried yeast to the mixture which can be dissolved in the milk. Also, one can add a teaspoon of mahlab.
- Knead the dough by hand for a few minutes or in a mixer with the paddle attachment until the dough feels smooth, shiny, and easy to shape into logs.
- On a marble or granite counter place a large sheet of wax paper. Place a fistful of dough on it and put another piece of wax paper on top of it. With a rolling pin, flatten the dough and shape it into a circle.
- Take a piece of date paste and knead it to loosen it. You can add up to 8 tablespoons of butter to the date paste to make it more malleable using the food processor. Form it into a 1/3 in. rope and place the rope directly on the dough. Using the wax paper, roll the log enclosing the date paste.
6. Roll out the log on the marble counter and roll it with the bottom of your wrist back and forth until it thins out to your liking. Cut the rope into individual cookies, each about 4 inches long.
7. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 325F oven till the cookies are light gold and the dough feels dry. Cool the cookies and keep in a tin for 2 weeks or more. This recipe will yield at least 50 cookies.
You can use a wooden mold if you are pressed for time, because it is faster to shape. Simply prepare small balls of dough on the counter. Take one at a time , use your thumb to carve out a deep hole in each ball. Place a smaller piece of date paste in the hole and close the opening while rolling it on the counter to make sure it is nicely smoothed out. Place the stuffed cookie in the mold, press gently and unmold by tapping it on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes in a 325F oven till golden and dry. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you want.
This article was written with the help of "Taste of Beirut"