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Type Dessert
Main ingredients Shortbread, dates, pistachios or walnuts
  Media: Ma'amoul
Ma'amoul at Vienna Naschmarkt

Ma'amoul (}

}}: معمولma‘mūl ) are small shortbread pastries filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts (or occasionally almonds, figs, or other fillings). They are popular in Levantine cuisine and in the Gulf countries. They may be in the shape of balls or of domed or flattened cookies. They can either be decorated by hand or be made in special wooden moulds. Ma'amoul with date fillings are often known as menenas, and are sometimes made in the form of date rolls rather than balls or cookies.

Many households keep a stock of them all year round, but they are particularly used on religious festivals. Muslims eat them at night during Ramadan and on the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha holidays, and Arabic-speaking Christians eat them at the days before lent the Easter day and in the fast of epiphany. They are very popular in Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and other Levantine countries, and highly demanded in the Gulf States, where they can be found packed and commercial versions of the pastry. They are also popular among Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian Jewish communities, where ma'amoul with nut fillings are eaten on Purim, and ma'amoul with date fillings are eaten on Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah.

The Levantine Jewish version of ma'amoul differs from the Levantine or Turkish versions by being made with pure white flour and no semolina, today this variation is eaten in Israel.

There is a more elaborate version known as karabij (Kerebiç in Turkish), used on special occasions. In this, nut-filled ma'amoul balls are piled in a pyramid and served with a white cream called naatiffe made from egg whites, sugar syrup and soapwort (Saponaria officinalis). These are popular in Syria, Lebanon, and other Levantine countries.


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See also

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