Crispy Moroccan Pancakes (M'smmen)

By Michael Zee From the book SymmetryBreakfast: Cook-Love-Share
Crispy Moroccan Pancakes (M'smmen)

M’smmen are a lovely flaky pancake from Morocco. I first came across these when a friend Dana gave me a bottle of her Argan oil as a present and I started to research what to do with it. Culinary Argan oil, made from toasted argan kernels, is nicknamed ‘liquid gold’ and quite rightly so. The process is done by hand mainly by Moroccan Berber women and the final product is a nutty oil, perfect for dipping bread or drizzled over a salad.

This recipe is very forgiving; there is no need to be a perfectionist. As you stretch the dough, you will inevitably get holes but as you fold they will become hidden within the layers.

The result is flaky on the outside, chewy on the inside. Serving it with honey and lashings of Argan oil is particularly lovely, with fresh mint tea or a milky coffee.

For how many? Serves 2

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • 450g plain flour
  • 100g fine semolina
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 packet of fast yeast
  • 300ml tepid water
  • For folding:
  • Sunflower Oil
  • 100g soft butter
  • 100g semolina
  • Toppings:
  • Argan oil (go easy on this)
  • Pine nuts lightly toasted
  • Mixed berries

Instructions

Put all your dry ingredients into a bowl or mixer and add the water until the mix forms a slightly sticky dough. Be careful that you don’t add too much water at the start. If you’re using a mixer, knead the dough for about 5 minutes. If you’re working by hand, knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes. It should be smooth and elastic.

Split the dough into 10 balls and, using the oil, lightly coat each one so that it doesn’t dry out. Clear a large work surface to prepare your pancakes and generously oil so the dough doesn’t stick.

Take a ball of dough and, with oiled hands, press it flat. Working from the middle outwards keep going until the pancake is so thin you can almost see through it; don’t worry if you make some holes. Scantly spread some butter over and sprinkle on some semolina – this will help the flaky layers form when cooking.

Like folding a letter, fold from the left two thirds in and then bring the right side over. You should have a narrow strip now. Bring the top down two thirds and fold the bottom up to match. Now you have a square. Repeat until all the balls are folded.

Pre-heat a dry pan over a medium-high heat. Starting with the first square, flatten it out until it’s about twice the size. Fry each pancake for about 5 minutes each side until golden brown, flipping several times throughout.

Drizzle with honey, Argan oil, pine nuts and berries.

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