How ouarka is made
Of all the days in the Polka Dot Door week, my favourite was always Finding Out Day. That was the day we saw video footage, usually from a factory, showing how something was made. I love finding out stuff! No wonder I was so excited to see how ouarka (pronounced “warka”) is made when I visited the main market in Meknes, Morocco this past December.
Ouarka is a North African layered pastry. It looks and behaves so much like filo, cookbooks and chefs often consider them interchangeable. But the way they are made is completely different. Filo is rolled and stretched, like a strudel dough. Here’s how ouarka is made:
First, the friendly Moroccan pastry chef takes a handful of soft, sticky ouarka dough in his
left right hand. He wipes it over a hot, slightly convex, metal hotplate. The wet dough sticks, leaving a very thin layer behind.
A few seconds later, the dough has dried out–just enough that it can be carefully peeled off the plate. You can see a stack of paper-thin ouarka sheets in the foreground. As with filo, home cooks buy a stack, and brush it with melted butter or olive oil before using it to make something like this traditional Moroccan treat:
This dessert is ouarka rolled around a filling of mashed dates, walnuts, cinnamon, orange-flower water, and a little sugar. The next step is to deep-fry or bake the rolls. Yum!
And finally, for comparison, a perfect video for Finding Out Day. Here’s how filo is made: