The kleicha chronicles continue.
Following date kleicha and coconut kleicha, (and Traditional Iraqi Date Kleicha) we now also have the beloved walnut kleicha (كليجة الجوز).
Note that the creativity in shaping the kleicha is calculated: each shape represents a different filling.Using the same kleicha dough base, the filling is as simple as could be: nuts, sugar, cardamom, and rosewater. Any Middle Eastern food enthusiast would have those ingredients on hand.Traditionally, kleicha is made larger than I tend to make it. Although smaller usually means more time consuming, it is that much more pleasurable to eat.
A few things good to know: toasting the walnuts before using them truly enhances their flavor.
Be sure to let the walnuts fully cool down before grinding; you do not want the oils in the nut to separate from the solids!
Grinding the cooled walnut with the sugar helps in keeping the walnuts powdered instead of becoming a paste, but still, do not over process because some texture is nice.
Add the rosewater to the walnuts after processing, and stir to combine by hand.
For the dough:
3 cups flour
1 cup milk, warmed
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mahlab, optional
2 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
For the walnut filling:
2 cups walnuts, toasted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp powdered cardamom
2-3 Tbsp rosewater
1 egg, beaten, for brushing
To make the dough, stir the the flour, ground mahlab, and salt to equally distribute.
Whisk the yeast and sugar in half a cup of the warmed milk, set aside for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
Pour the yeast-milk mixture, and the remaining half cup of warm milk, and the melted butter over the flour mixture.
Knead for 5 minutes. Alternatively, just put the whole thing in the food processor and blitz until a dough is formed. Let rest and rise for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 3 balls.Work with one ball, keeping the others covered.
Roll out the ball of dough onto a large surface to about 3 millimeters thick.
Cut using an inverted espresso cup into circles as close to each other as possible.
Place a teaspoon of walnut mixture in the center of each circle, and enclose the dough around the filling to form a sphere. Pinch the ends tightly shut.
Place the kleicha spheres seam-side down on a baking sheet.
Lightly brush the surface of the kheicha with the beaten egg, then poke three times using a toothpick or a fork.
Bake in a preheated 360F oven for about 15 minutes, then broil to a golden brown for a minute or two.
Delicious straight out of the oven, or cooled, with a steaming cup of tea.
To freeze, cool completely, place in zip-lock bags, and freeze.
De-frost at room temperature in whatever quantity you want.
Perfect for impromptu guests.