Warqa pastry (sometimes referred to as "brick pastry") is an essential Moroccan ingredient, used to make a number of sweet and savory pastries and dishes. Although the traditional method of dabbing sticky warqa dough onto a hot pan is difficult to master, a much-easier technique of "painting" batter onto a pan can be used to make the pastry leaves at home.
In addition to the ingredients listed below, you'll want to have the following on hand:
- Food processor
- New, clean nylon bristle paintbrush, about 3" wide
- Smaller basting brush
- Medium or large non-stick skillet
- Pot for boiling water
- Large plate or tray
- Plastic wrap
- Vegetable oil, for brushing the dough
Other than that, patience is all that's needed since you'll be cooking the warqa leaves one-by-one.
Gather the ingredients.
Process the warqa ingredients together in a food processor or blender for one or two minutes, or until very smooth and silky. Pour the batter through a strainer into a bowl, cover, and leave to rest for an hour at room temperature or longer in the fridge.
When you're ready to make the pastry leaves, fill a pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and place a non-stick skillet on top of the pot of water. (Choose a skillet and pot that will nestle as snugly as possible together. A larger non-stick skillet is best when making pastry for bastilla while you may find a smaller skillet more ideal if making warqa for briouats.) Leave the pan to heat for 10 minutes.
Lightly oil the non-stick skillet and wipe away the excess oil.
Stir the prepared warqa batter with your paintbrush, wipe the excess off the bristles, and then "paint" the surface of the skillet with the batter, starting with the perimeter and then filling in the center. Dip for the additional batter as needed to create an opaque layer of wet batter. Fill in any holes or spaces that you missed by dabbing on a little more batter.
Leave the batter to cook into a semi-transparent pastry leaf. This won't take too long, just one to several minutes. You'll know it's done when the center no longer looks wet or feels sticky, and the edges dry out and pull away from the side of the pan.
Loosen the cooked pastry leaf from the pan with a rubber spatula and lift it out by its edges. Place it cooked-side-up on a plate or tray lined with plastic wrap, and brush the cooked side lightly with oil.
There's no need to oil the pan again. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, stacking the pastry cooked-side-up as you work. Remember to oil each layer.
Wrap the stack of pastry leaves in plastic until needed later that day. Trim off the dry edges before you work. If you plan to use the warqa on another day, gently separate the cooled layers and re-stack cooked-side-up (this helps avoid the pastry leaves from sticking together), then wrap and freeze until needed. Thaw for an hour at room temperature.
When using warqa, the general rule of thumb is to keep the cooked side (shiny, oiled side) to the exterior of whatever you're making, while the filling should be enclosed by the uncooked side.