Recipe: Anissa Helou’s Pistachio-Filled Semolina Pastries (Ma’Mul Bi-Fistuq)

Written by
Anissa Helou’s Ma’Mul Bi-Fistuq are pistachio-filled semolina pastries. (Photo by Linda Pugliese)

From Beirut-born fine art collector and advisor to London-based cookbook author, teacher and chef, Anissa Helou, is an expert in the cultures and cuisines of the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa. Her latest book, Sweet Middle East: Classic Recipes, from Baklava to Fig Ice Cream, delves into this part of the world to discover even the lesser known regional delights.

Anissa Helou - Sweet Middle EastAnissa shares a recipe for Ma’Mul Bi-Fistuq, which are semolina pastries filled with pistachios. In Damascus, Syria, you can also find ma’mul filled with walnuts and dates, shaped into various forms using geometric patterned molds. Don’t worry if you don’t have a proper mold to shape yours, though. You can always make these by hand and use tweezers to pinch patterns on the surface.

She serves these with a Sweet Soapwort Dip that adds creaminess and sweetness to these ma-mul. If you serve them together, there’s no need to sprinkle the cookies with confectioners’ sugar. This dip can also be served with any other cookies that take your fancy, so long as they’re not too sweet.