Saturday, 19 May 2012

Fekkas Messaouess : Addictive Moroccan biscuits with almonds and raisins


Fekkas is a famous sort of twice-baked cookies. You would think they look like biscotti. It’s the case. They come in different shapes and additions. In Fes, it’s quite common to find small fekkas (about 1 cm large) usually dipped in milk as a sort of breakfast for children.


My favourite version is the traditional Almond and raisins Fekkas. This used to be my “milk and cereals” type of breakfast, just like many people from Fes.

As a variation, the recipe can be prepared with only sesame seeds and anise seeds; you may also skip the raisins.


Fekkas used to be prepared with less fancier ingredients, decades or centuries ago. It used to be done with krachel (a sweet bread , our type of Pain d'épices) which would be cut and baked again to make "bejmat", a sort of simple fekkas.
Today's recipe of fekkas is relatively easy in the making. The only thing you may have problem with is the cutting. It might lead to a lot of breakage (which we use for breakfast or as a snack, dipped in milk). 

For that, you have to be careful with:

  • The 1st baking time.
  •  Respect the resting time between 1st baking and cutting.
  •  To avoid breakage, it’s also adviced to chop almonds in tiny crumbs instead of having big pieces.

Another bake with more sultanas

You can keep Fekkas for weeks in an airtight container.


Ingredients
For more than 60 pieces
Prep Time: 20 minutes- Resting time: 6 hours- baking time: 15 + 12 min
  • 1 kg of all purpose flour (+ 50 g depending on the absorption) + more for rolling
  • 300g  of caster sugar
  • 35 cl of oil/melted butter, mixed
  • 1 big pinch of salt
  • ½ cup of orange blossom water/milk for kneading  (maybe more)
  • 14 g of baking powder
  • 6 eggs, standard (medium) size 
  • 100 to 150 g of sesame seeds, toasted
  • 200 to 300g dried sultanas 
  • 200 to 300 g of almonds with skin, soaked in water for 5 minutes, dried and roughly chopped with a knife (If you are a first timer making this, chop them even more )
  • 50 to 60 g of anise seeds slightly crushed
Egg wash
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 to 4 pinches of instant coffee, optional


My fekkas, bigger almond pieces led to more broken fekkas, but stil tasted good

Preparation

In a large bowl, mix eggs and sugar with a fork in a bowl until it becomes fluffy and very liquid. Add salt, oil, raisins, almonds, sesame seeds, anise seeds. Mix all these ingredients.

Add the sifted flour with baking powder little by little. Add orange blossom water and milk to bring the dough together.

Work the dough with your hands until a soft dough forms. Knead a few times. Try to keep the dough a little sticky, if possible, as it will yield a lighter cookie. But not too sticky so you can roll it without problem.

Working with small portions of dough (split the dough into big chunks), roll the dough back and forth on a work surface to form a sort of fat sausages of dough about 2 cm high and 5 to 6 cm base.

Egg-washing fekkas & 1st baking time

Transfer the sticks to a baking sheet. Egg-wash them and bake. The idea of instant coffee in the egg-wash is not that old (only about 20 years). It just gives a nice colour to Fekkas without really leaving any taste.

Making fekkas, when the dough looks dry, add a bit of orange blossom water or milk

With a fork, draw straight lines or crossed lines in the egg-wash but not the dough itself.
Preheat the oven  to 180° C. Bake for about 15 -20 min. Since ovens are different, you should be looking for the following: the dough needs to form a light crust without really baking completely. We just half-bake them, as we say over here. The texture inside is a bit soft at this stage.


Once the fekkas rolls are out, let them cool a bit then cover them with a cloth. They need to rest overnight or at least 6 hours. The other fast option is to cover them with a damp cloth for about 1h before cutting them, but in our family we just follow the 1st option.

The next step is to cut Fekkas.

Cutting Fekkas & 2nd baking time

With a sharp knife, carefully cut the fekkas, ½ cm thick. Cut them slightly diagonal. Be careful not to break them.


Place the slices on a baking sheet (you could grease it). They wouldn’t spread so you can put them close to each other.


Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Let them cool before removing them very carefully from the baking sheet.

My auntie's fekkas is more "professional" because she's a amazing tradition-keeper

You make sure to keep the broken fekkas..


To make this healthy breakfast (Well, in our times, corn flakes were not an option. Thank God!)


Soaked broken fekkas in milk and orange blossom

#

6 comments:

  1. Totally agree with u, addictive fekkas.

    ReplyDelete
  2. ahha, interesting recipe, never made this. looks very good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Priya! I still eat it and enjoy it the way I always did when I was a kid...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Spice up the curry. I think you should try then! I suspect you will enjoy munching on it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've used this recipe twice now, except I replaced a quarter of the white flour with wheat. I was worried about the color and taste, but it came out perfect. Thank you so much, so glad I found your site.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Miriam..I'm truly happy that you had a go and one of my recipes..This one is quite my childhood's fav one..I would love to use wheat too..I think it'll give it character..Thanks for the idea..

      Delete

I'd love to hear from you! So please do not hesitate to write a few words..

Print

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...