Thursday, 11 December 2014

Moroccan savoury pinwheel fekkas


Savoury fekkas biscuits come in different shapes and are usually small in size. We love to have them around especially for a family gossiping session. 

Left to right: oregano, black pepper and cheese, grain-mustard and cheese,
 harissa and cheese
Moroccan wedding ceremonies usually have large round tables and people gather around them awaiting for the party to start, so they would have roasted almonds and savoury fekkas to nibble on until the waiters start serving the list of sweets and main food planned for the big night. Again, it's another gossiping opportunity while people are gathering.


Another variety of savoury nibbles during a wedding ceremony,
waiting for the party to start

The big pinwheels with oregano/thyme/cheese fekkas (see picture below) are actually 6 cm in diameter but they could be 3 times smaller. I made them for a small group of teething toddler and they loved them (well, they nibbled on a couple each) and they were easy to grab by tiny fingers due to their size. 

Being an eggless recipe, my baby boy was also able to enjoy them. The Harissa piwheels (below, right) are more for grown-ups as they are hot while the wholegrain mustard version (below, in the middle) are fairly balanced without the heat of a mustard but rather its vinegar-y taste. 


All fekkas pinwheels biscuits are made using the same dough. Their dough is freezer-friendly as you can roll them ahead of time. cut them and bake them the same day you need them. It's really an easy recipe.

Ingredients
Serves 16-20 
Prep: 20 min - Baking: 12-15 min

For the main dough
  • 500g of all purpose flour
  • 220g of butter at room temperature
  • 60 g of grated cheese (Edam, cheddar)
  • 1 cube of bouillon or 1 tbps of bouillon granules
  • 30 g of cream cheese (laughing cow, kirri, philadelphia)
  • 60 ml of milk or water, cold or at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of crushed black pepper or to taste
For the pinwheel effect
  • 100 g of grated cheese (Edam or cheddar
  • 4 tbps of dried thyme/oregano (for version 1)
  • 6 tbps of wholegrain mustard (for version 2)
  • 2 tbps of harissa (for version 3)
For the work surface
  • Flour
  • Fine semolina flour (replace with flour)



Preparation


With the tip of your finger or using a food processor with paddle attachment, mix flour with all ingredients except the milk. You will have a sort of crumbly effect. Add the milk and combine. Do not overwork the dough.

Divide the dough into 3. Flatten each part in a cling film about 1 cm thick and seal 2 parts while you roll one. Each part will be used for a different filling.

To avoid adding a lot of flour, use sheets of baking paper and roll the dough in between as thin as 2 mm. If you don't happen to have baking paper, you may use the flour and fine semolina flour but make sure you delicately dust the surface while rotating the dough by a quarter turn every time you roll it, making sure it does not stick.

Adding the cheese with the mustard and harissa reduces any risk of sogginess

For the Herby version

Crush the dried herbs between the palm of your hands and generously  sprinkle the dough all the way to the edges and corners. Sprinkle a layer of grated cheese and crushed black pepper. Cut the edges to form a neat rectangle or square. 

Roll the dough tight to form a roll or a tube. Save it in the freezer while you prepare the other versions.

For the mustard or harissa versions

Spread the pastes all over the dough and all the way to the edges and corners. Sprinkle a layer of grated cheese and crushed black pepper. Cut the edges to form a neat rectangle or square. 

Roll the dough tight to form a roll or a tube.

Shaping fekkas pinwheels

For small fekkas, freeze the roll while you preheat the oven to 170/180 degrees C and cover the baking sheets with baking paper. After 10 mins in the freezer, use a sharp knife to cut 2mm round-shaped pinwheels.


For large fekkas, cut 3-4 mm thick pinwheels and place them on a baking paper, leaving some space between them. Cover with another baking paper and gently roll them all together. Rotate the lower baking paper one quarter towards you and roll again to even the sides. This method allows you to have big pinwheels with even surface.

Bake fekkas pinwheels about 12-15 cms until just about golden from the edges and cooked through from the middle.


Store in an airtight container for up to a week.


Notes


  • Try an anchovy paste for another version of these pinwheels, or a tapenade. Make sure you add grated cheese to avoid sogginess.
  • If you don't feel like making pinwheels, try this version of Moroccan savoury biscuits with olives.



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