This recipe makes a manageable amount of about 100 kulecha. Traditionally a lot more are made and some are frozen for later. Once you get the hang of making them, you can double the recipe.
½ cup warm water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 packet active yeast
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground dough spices* (optional but recommended)
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional)
1 cup melted unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 ¼ cup warm milk
Date Paste mixture
1 pound date paste**
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup walnut halves (should come out to about ¾ cup when chopped)
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons rose water
1 tablespoon water
*dough spices can be purchased at most Middle Eastern stores. It usually contains a mix of ground anise, fennel, cardamom, cherry pits and more.
**If you can't find prepared date paste you can make your own by pureeing pitted dates with a little water.
Add packet of yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar to ½ cup warm water. Stir to dissolve. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. It should be foamy on top after 10 minutes.
Mix your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, dough spice, nigella seeds). Add melted butter and mix. Add the yeast mixture and mix. Add about ¾ cup of the warm milk and mix. Begin to knead the dough. Slowly add enough milk so your dough is pliable and not sticky. You may not use all of your milk. If you feel you have added too much milk and the dough is sticky, sprinkle a little flour until it is not sticky. Knead for 10 minutes. Place your dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place a blanket over the bowl. Allow to rest for 1 – 3 hours or until it is doubled in size. While you are waiting for your dough, start preparing your fillings.
Preparing Date Paste
Heat your oil in a pan. Add date paste, cinnamon, cardamom, and sesame seeds and mix until softened and the ingredients are blended well.
Preparing nut mixture
Chop your walnuts until fine; add sugar, cardamom, and rose water. Mix well.
If your dough has risen, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Preparing date Kulecha
Once your dough has risen, separate it into 4 balls. Take one to use and leave the other 3 in the bowl covered. Cut your dough ball in half and roll out until it is about 1/8 inch. Trim into a rectangular piece about 10 by 7 inches. Place half of your date paste on some parchment paper, add another piece of parchment paper on top and roll with rolling pin until it is about as thin as you can get it. Trim into a piece that matches the size of your dough. Take the top layer of parchment paper off of date mix. Carry the date paste using the bottom piece of parchment paper and flip the date paste over the dough. If some of your dough is not covered by the date paste, patch where necessary. Starting at the long end, roll the dough. Press the end of the roll to seal. Place the end side down and gently go over the roll with a rolling pin so it is about half the height it was. Cut the roll into triangular or rectangular pieces. I used a crinkle cutter knife for mine to give the edges a nice touch. Take the other half of the dough and repeat the process. Brush kulecha with egg wash, put in oven at 350 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes or until browned.
Preparing nut kulecha
Take a piece of the dough and roll out to about 1/8 inch thickness. Using a cup or cookie cutter with about a 2 ½ diameter, cut out circle shapes. Take a circular piece and press between forefinger and thumbs of both hands and rotate to gently thin out and stretch dough. Place about 1 teaspoon of the nut mixture in the middle. Fold in half and pinch the ends together to seal, making sure there are no nuts where you are pressing. Starting at one end, fold the pinched part and press down and repeat and continue to the other end (see pics or video). Repeat process until all of your dough is done. Brush kulecha with egg wash, put in oven at 350 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes or until browned.
Anytime you have extra dough from trimming your dough or the leftover from the cutouts, place the pieces back in the covered bowl. You can reshape it for whatever filling you had extra of or just make plain dough kulecha if your fillings ran out.