For the dough
- 1 cup spelt or all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons water
- Pinch of salt
For the filling
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 cups dates (8 ounces), pitted and chopped
To make the dough
Combine flour and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and work it into the flour with your fingers until it is crumbly. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in 2 tablespoons water. Gently knead the dough until it comes together, just a few seconds. Add additional water if too dry. Chill the dough for 10 minutes.
To make the filling
To make the filling, combine butter, water and chopped dates in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, covered, for about 10 minutes. Stir dates, pressing down, until they form a soft paste. Remove and cool.
To make the rolls
Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator.
On a floured board, roll out and flatten a ball of dough. Shape into a rectangle about 1/4-inch-thick. Spread date mixture thinly over the top. Roll the rectangle into a roll and continue to roll back and forth until it grows thinner and longer, about 20 inches. Slice the roll into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces.
Place all slices side by side on the prepared baking sheet and poke the tops lightly with a fork. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until slightly colored (if you overcook them, they become hard). Allow to cool, then dust with powdered sugar.
Adapted from “Cooking the Middle Eastern Way” by Christine Osborne