Kaak bil Agwa

Date Rolls

Portions:

50

Cook Time:

1 hour

Can I adapt this easily as a vegetarian or vegan?

Yes

These date-filled parcels of deliciousness can be shaped in many different ways.

Ingredients

  • 500g plain flour

  • 245g butter or margarine

  • 110ml cold water

  • 500g pitted dates

  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preparation

Step One

Combine the flour with 230g of butter by gently using the tips of your fingers to form bread-crumb like consistency


Step Two

Gradually add the water to form a pliable short-crust pastry dough


Step Three

Cover the dough with clingfilm and place in the fridge

Preheat the oven to 170°C 


Step Four

Blend together the dates, remaining 15g of butter, cinnamon and orange blossom water together in a food processor to form a thick paste


Step Five

Shaping Option One: Balls 

Roll out the dough until 2-3mm thick

Using a cookie cutter, cut circles of dough about 7cm in diametre

Using buttered hands, form a ball of date mixture about the size of a small walnut

Place the circle of dough on your palm, put the date ball on top of it and close your palm, encasing the date in the dough. Pinch the tips of the dough together to seal, and then roll in your hands to smooth it out

Place on a baking tray with the sealed side of the ball on the tray


Shaping Option Two: Fingers

Roll the dough into ovals, about 6cm wide and 10cm long 

Using buttered hands, roll the date mixture into fingers

Place the date finger at the bottom of the oval, and roll away from your body, wrapping the dates in the dough

Place on a baking tray with the bottom of the roll on the tray


Shaping Option Three: Hamentaschen 

Roll out the dough until 2-3mm thick

Using a cookie cutter, cut circles of dough about 7cm in diametre

Using buttered hands, form a ball of date mixture about the size of a small walnut, then press down with your palm to create a disk

Place the date disk on the circle of dough

Fold the dough in, over the date circle, to create a triangle 


Step Six

Bake for 20-25 minutes, just until the bottom of the pastry has turned a light golden colour


Step Seven

Leave to cool on a cooling rack before eating

Optional: sprinkle with icing sugar

Notes

If you can't find orange blossom water, you may be able to find orange blossom extract in a supermarket. This is an essential oil, and so only 2 drops should be used, alongside a tablespoon of water. 


In my family, we make the finger shaped Kaak bil Agwa on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. A sweet treat for a sweet new year. 


These biscuits are similar to ma'amoul, which can be found all over the Middle East, but have a crunchier pastry encasing rather than the soft texture of ma'amoul. 


Traditionally, the balls of Kaak bil Agwa would be decorated by pinching with a tool similar to a tweazer. Different patterns and decorations would be used for different occasions.


Hamentaschen are a triangular shaped biscuit filled with sweet poppy seeds and traditionally eaten at Purim in Ashkenazi Jewish communities. Forming the Kaak bil Agwa in this way is not at all traditional, but a fun way to merge Jewish traditions from around the world.