Moroccan soups are tasty and fortifying and are accompanied during Ramadan with an assortment of sugary sweets to boost energy levels after a day of fasting The Ramadan fast is broken with harira a lentil and tomato based soup. dates and dried figs and chebakia, which are flower-shaped cookies soaked in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Sweets are an integral part of the social aspect of Ramadan and the ftour meal.
Stuffed Dates include Orange flower water and cinnamon which are used to flavor the almond paste filling. Makrout with Dates and Honey is another special occasion sweet which is popular in Ramadan. A mild date paste is enclosed in a log of semolina dough, then the cookies are sliced, fried and dipped in honey.
Hssoua Belboua is barley soup with milk. It combines barley grits with milk to yield a rich, creamy soup that’s both nutritious and satisfying. There is also Semolina soup with milk, anise seeds and honey.
After the soup comes a variety of breads such as msemen and rghayif (layered flatbreads cooked in a skillet); puffed, pita breadlike rounds called batbout; and perhaps some harcha, an unleavened flatbread, sometimes made with cornmeal. Arrayed with them on the table are marmalades, butter, and cheeses, often including the fresh cheese jben. There are bowls of olives and others of hard-boiled eggs, which are peeled and then dipped in ground cumin or black pepper. Moroccans living along the Atlantic coast will also serve fried fish, usually sardines.
Another favorite are triangular or cylindrical phyllo briouats. Briouats, are pan-fried—not baked—to golden deliciousness. Some are savory, stuffed with fresh cheese and finished with a drizzle of honey, while others are sweet, filled with crushed almonds, sugar, and spices.
Sweets reappear at the end of the ftour meal. Platters are piled with cookies, among them twice-baked Moroccan Tea Biscuits known as fekkas with their lovely scent of orange-flower water.”Treats such as m’hanncha, called “snake cake” for its concentric circles, are another representative dessert. Dates reappear on the table, this time stuffed, often with a homemade almond paste.
Sellou is a Moroccan sweet served during Ramadan made from toasted sesames, fried almonds and flour that has been browned in the oven.
Almond Briouats are made by folding almond paste flavored with orange flower water and cinnamon within warqa dough. The pastries are fried and then soaked briefly in honey. Cheese briouats are foiled with cream cheese filling. Herbs or hot peppers can be added for more flavor.