Beghrir with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

by Paulina Farro


...and Morocco, Part One

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To me, not all vacations are the same.  There are lazy relaxation beach vacations and there are more adventurous exotic cultural vacations.There is not one I prefer over the other, but this last trip to Morocco got me thinking about my most precious and treasured  personal traveling moments. The sun beating down on me while riding a camel, fluorescent body paint running down my legs in a downpour during the Full Moon Party in Thailand, being squished inside a tuktuk weaving precariously through Bangkok traffic, asking my girlfriend every 5 minutes if she's awake while sleeping in a tent in the middle of a safari because I'm certain a wild animal has broken into our tent to eat us. There were times in Casablanca and Marrakesh where I wished I were on some lazy beach vacation, filled with coconuts with straws in them, clear ocean water, and minus the unrelenting heat, and cab drivers that balk at you angrily for more money!more money! Oh, and the guy who circled back around on his motorcycle to tell me I looked like a prostitute would definitely not be there either. But is that what travel is supposed to be about? My spoiled little American self having air conditioner, knowing the language, never lost, knowing what, precisely, that meat is that I'm eating and being in my comfort zone 100% of the time? Of course not. Some of my best anecdotes,memories, and cultural learning experiences while traveling required me to get uncomfortable. And sometimes terrified. I always come back to the US with the feeling that probably nothing scares me anymore. Morocco was an amazing experience I won't soon forget and I cannot wait for my next chance to get uncomfortable.

After a 3 hour, 100 degree, sardine can train ride from Casablanca to Marrakesh, then being hopelessly lost in the endless maze of Marrakesh Riads for the better part of the afternoon the day prior- seeing plates and plates of these Beghrir (which are Moroccan pancakes), grated butter, jam, and coffee waiting for us the next  morning,  we were ecstatic. Food can have such an amazing effect on moods. I think we polished off an entire plate of butter. I had never seen or tasted Beghrir before, and I'm sure many of you have not either,  so just imagine if a crepe and a pancake had a perfectly fluffy, spongey baby.  The difference between these and regular pancakes is they are thinner, made with yeast and semolina flour, and are only cooked on one side. Making the craters in the top the perfect vessel for the tart, sweet, and brightly fruity strawberry rhubarb compote I made to go along with this recipe. If you cook them in butter until they are crispy around the edges, you have yourself a delectable breakfast. 

I spent  hours getting lost within the Marrakesh market,  and came back with some amazing spices which I can't wait to share and create more recipes with,  along with the rest of my memorable experiences from this trip. Until Part Two, here are some of my favorite photos from Casablanca and Marrakesh. 


 
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1

 Plan ahead of time, as the batter for the pancakes needs to rest for at least an hour.

2

Add all of your ingredients-semolina, flour, yeast, salt, sugar, warm milk,  egg, and water into a bowl. Whisk together until smooth then set aside for at least an hour. You can also make it thr night before and keep it refrigerated overnight.

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3

While the batter is resting, cut your rhubarb into small, 1/2 inch slices, and hull and quarter your strawberries. In a medium saucepan add rhubarb, sugar,orange juice, stir until combined, then bring to a boil. Add strawberries, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the fruit is mostly broken down, stirring occasionally. Let cool.

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4

When batter is done resting, heat a large, buttered  skillet over medium heat. The batter should be a fairly thin consistency- thinner than regular pancake batter. Spoon about 3-4 tablespoons. of batter into the skillet for each pancake, depending on how large you would like them to be. Cook until the edges are golden brown, and tops have bubbled and cratered, and the tops are no longer shiny and wet looking (aka raw)

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Spread butter on the pancakes, plenty of strawberry-rhubarb compote, and a dollop of homemade whipped cream. YUM!  

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Beghrir (Moroccan pancakes)

3/4 cup Semolina (if you can't find Semolina flour, you can substitute regular)

3/4 cup flour

1 tsp. active dry yeast

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt 

1 egg

1 cup warm milk

1/2 cup water 

1. Plan ahead of time, as the batter for the pancakes needs to rest for at least an hour.

2. Add all of your ingredients-semolina, flour, yeast, salt, sugar, warm milk,  egg, and water into a bowl. Whisk together until smooth then set aside for at least an hour. You can also make it thr night before and keep it refrigerated overnight.

3. When batter is done resting, heat a large, buttered  skillet over medium heat. Spoon about 3-4 tablespoons. of batter into the skillet for each pancake, depending on how large you would like them to be. Cook until the edges are golden brown, and tops have bubbled and cratered, and the tops are no longer shiny and wet looking/raw.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

3-4 stalks rhubarb 

2 cups strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange juice  

1. While the batter is resting, cut your rhubarb into small, 1/2 inch slices, and hull and quarter your strawberries. In a medium saucepan add rhubarb, sugar,orange juice, stir until combined, then bring to a boil. Add strawberries, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the fruit is mostly broken down, stirring occasionally. Let cool.


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