It’s a date! Slightly sweet Date Malawach inspired by Tu B’shevat. Flaky, buttery, fried bread stuffed with dates and cinnamon and then topped with roasted grapes and labneh!
What is Malawach?
Malawach me now! If you aren’t familiar with this fried Yemenite bread, then you are in for a treat. Yemenite Jewish food is quite popular in Israel, so I have gotten to sample it on my trips there, Malwach is a flaky, buttery, laminated, flatbread that I have especially loved as a sandwich vessel. And I have vivid delicious memories of a Yemenite Shabbat Dinner cooked by famed cookbook author Adeena Sussman and beloved Israel chef Gil Hovav and during my trip for Nosh Berlin. I dream of the kubaneh (overnight yeast bread) with chilbeh (whipped fenugreek spread). That meal was herby, spicy, buttery, and rich.
What do you serve with malawach?
Anyhoo, malawach is often served with savory components- a soft boiled egg, schug, crushed tomatoes.
But it can be sweet with a drizzle of honey too. That was my inspiration here, also inspired by Tu B’shevat! Tu B’what?
What is Tu B’shevat?
I’ll tell you! Jews actually have four New Year celebrations (humble brag) and Tu B’shevat is the New Year of Trees.
In modern times aka the 17th century, Tu B’shevat became a day to honor conservation, sustainability and the importance of trees and to take care of our planet for future generations. In Judaism, trees represent life, so a pretty big deal.
It’s traditional to have a Tu B’shevat Seder where we eat the seven species (those are pomegranate, dates, barley, wheat, figs, olives, and grapes), drink four glasses of wine ranging from white to red, and talk about how impressive nature is. This sounds like most of the times we got
high philosophical in college come to think about it. Sign me up!
So this recipe is inspired by these seven species. Dates and wheat in the malawach, roasted grapes (in olive oil) on the side. Four out of seven in one tasty dish, not bad! You could throw some pomegranate arils on here for kicks too.
Break off pieces of the flaky bread and dip it in the labneh and roasted grapes for sweet, tangy, cream, buttery goodness. Money-back guarantee if you aren’t saying how awesome nature is after a few bites.**
Date Malawach with Roasted Grapes and Labneh
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour (plus more if needed)
- ½ cup cake flour
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1½ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 cup dates, minced
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 6 tbsp butter, very soft
- 1 cup grapes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup labneh or Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp mint, minced
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flours, sugar , salt and baking powder.
- Then add the warm water slowly while mixing until it comes together. Knead for 5-7 minutes until you have a soft, smoothe ball.
- Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Divide your dough into four equal sizes pieces. Keep three covered while you work with the fourth.
- Line a baking sheet with parchemnt or wax paper and set aside.
- Take 1 tablespoon of butter and spread it out over a clean surface. You'll need at least a 12" x 14" space to work with. Put the dough on the surface and roll out using a rolling pin and your hands into a 12" x 14" rectangle. Don't worry if there are tears, you won't see them in the end. You want the dough very thin and see-throuh.
- Sprinkle the dates and about 1/4 of the cinnamon evenly onto the surface. Starting with the wide end, roll the dough up into a rope and then swirl into a pinwheel spiral. Repeat with the other dough pieces, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chilled through.
- When you are about ready to fry the malawach, you can make the grapes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Toss the grapes with olive oil and salt and spread out on a parchment limed baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes until grapes are softed and slightly browned.
Frying the Malawach
- While the grapes are roasting, it's fry time! Remove one piece of dough at a time and place between two pieces of wax paper. Flatten into a 6-inch circle using a rolling pin. Frying in a little more butter over medium heat in a cast-iron or nonstick pan 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown.
- Serve hot with roasted grapes, labneh, mint, honey and sesame seeds.