Moroccan pancakes for a grumpy gourmande…

March 22nd, 2008 § 11 comments

I had a bad feeling for that weekend all along. And here we are: It’s cold, raining melted snow, I have a flu and I just lost the complete last post I’ve spent at least 3 hours writing (first time since I moved to wordpress)… So far so good for the first weekend of spring. I need something soothing if I want to make it through Easter!

M’semmen*: my favourite pancakes ever, soaked  in honey and butter…  

In a last desperate attempt to save my mood for the weekend, I’ve turned to my favourite ever, the morrocan pancakes of my childhood… M’semmen: they are golden like the sun, flaky and buttery, soaked in honey (my throat’s gonna like that!). I had promised you the recipe some time ago but I wanted to bake them again to take a couple of pictures and the truth is taht although they are the most delicious pancakes ever… I don’t quite master the timing and hardly ever find the courage to get started (my mum hardly cook them either for the same reasons: we’re not very  patient in the family. The recipe is more than largely inspired from Requia’s authentic recipe in french). But this weekend, I just wont do without them. So here’s my present to you (and to my throat and grumpy mood) for easter.

Happy Easter!

ps. For more heavenly morrocan pancakes out of my childhood also check out that post

M’semmen, moroccan pancakes
M’semmen, crèpes feuiletées marocaines

makes ~12.
prep: 15 + ~20/30 min; rest. 15 min; cook: ~ 20/30 min

200 g extra fine semolina (durum wheat flour),
200 g all purpose flour,
200 ml lukewarm water,

1 tsp salt,
5 cl. sunflower oil,
120 g. butter

msemen (1)

In a large bowl (ideally a large medium high earthware dish), mix in the semolina, flour and salt. Incorporate the lukewarm water slowly, kneading with your hands until the dough is homogenous. Dip your fingers in the oil regularly and knead the doug energetically for at least 5 minutes. Divide the dough into small balls the size of an egg or a small mandarine. Leave to rest covered with a clean cloth for 15 minutes.

msemen (2)msemen (3)

Oil a large clean working surface (I use a large wooden cutting board covered with plastic foil). Put a ball of dough in the middle. Roll it out as thin as you can (~20 to 30 cm diameter) using a pastry roll (in morocco, women usually do that with the palm of their hands, but if like me you’re not experienced with that, it will take you double the time). Spread a small amount of butter evenly on the surface of the pancake and fold in three twice, to get a small square envelope shape. Put aside and repeat until you’ve worked out all the balls of dough. You should have around 1/3rd of the butter left.

msemen (4)

Heat up a greased pancake or frying pan on medium heat. Put a square of dough on the oiled working surface and flatten it with your hands into a roughly 15×15 cm square. Butter each side of the pancake lightly  and fry on both sides until golden. Set aside on a sheet of kitchen paper. Repeat for each pancake, greasing the pan again in between two panackes. Store in a cool place until service rolled in a clean towel or in aluminum foil. You can keep them a couple of days in the fridge or freeze them individually.

msemen (5)

Traditionally, m’semmen are heated in a mix of butter and honey (like my mom, I add a bit of water too to limit the amount of butter) and sserved hot with a fuming cup of mint tea for breakfast or tea-time. If you are more into savoury, you can heat them up in a bit of butter and serve them with fresh goat cheese, olives and fresh herbs. And one more tip: eat them with your fingers…

Bon appétit!

* When I first edited this post, I spelled these pancakes m’semen by mistake, with one m instead of two. Not a big mistake as it is just a phonetic translation of the arabic spelling… Yet, as someone remarked it, they sound so much better with two m’s. So here it goes, I changed it. In my family’s region, we also call these pancakes Ghaif or Ghaifa. 

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§ 11 Responses to Moroccan pancakes for a grumpy gourmande…"

  • Louise Depascalis says:

    Louise Thanks for the recipe of moroccan pancakes cant wait to try and make them

  • gita says:

    Thanks for morrocan pancakes:)

  • lisa says:

    Never seen it done with plastic foil before, I might try that! tnx

    • mykitchendiaries says:

      Well, Lisa,
      I must say, this is really a more of a ‘lazy gourmande’ trick not to end up with a greay wooden board, but I must say it works quite well for me.
      Cheers, Myriam.

  • sanaa says:

    Salam alaikom,

    AllAH yaatik saha chahitini noud nsayeb chi wahdin LOL..

    Your blog is wonderful, keep up the good work my dear!!

  • mykitchendiaries says:

    Hi Meredith. Glad I could help you with your search of the lost pancakes. Did you give it a try yet?
    I’ve got family in Rabat and I’ve been there a lot. Can’t remember the chutneys though. I’ll investigate and I’ll keep you posted if I find out something.

    Cheers, Myriam.

  • Meredith says:

    Hi, thank you so much for posting this. I spent last summer in Morocco and have woken up thinking about these practically every day since! I figured out Mint Tea, but, up until now, these pancakes have been a mystery to me!

    The host family I stayed with served these every morning with honey and various chutneys…I was wondering if you might know what kind they might have served, so I can re-create the experience. I was in Rabat, if that helps…

    Thank you!


  • mykitchendiaries says:

    We had good times and certainly great dinners! I miss particularly our portuguese dinners with you, Pedro, Fred, Helder and all the others… Happy you like the blog.
    Hope to see u soon too.


  • Beatriz says:


    I miss your pancakes (and your cooking in general….), I enjoy reading your blog it always gives me nice memories :-)

    Thanks for birthday card!

    See you soon,

  • mykitchendiaries says:


    You couldn’t have put it better, these pancakes are really love at first bite. I’m so thankful to Requia for sharing the recipe on her French blog. They taste just like the ones I have in my family when I go back to Morocco.
    Let me know if you try the recipe.
    I really hope it will measure to your memories and your sons’ as it did to mine.

    Cheers, Myriam.

  • Maria says:

    I HAD BEEN LOOKING FOR THIS RECIPE FOR WEEKS NOW…..Many many thanks! You have made my day. My family loved these in Marrakesh. It was love at first bite and this is very little to say given that I have the pickiest boys in the planet. We cant recall tasting any better pancake ever. I recommend this to everyone reading this post, with fresh apricot jam or just like one can purchase them in the streets, with honey and butter… simply great.

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