translates as Bee's Hive in Arabic,owing to the appearance of the buns.The buns are baked closed to each other in a round pan where they form a honey comb like pattern.Traditionally,these buns are made sweet with a cream cheese filling and covered with a sugar syrup or glaze after baking,which is typical of many Middle Eastern confectionery.
The recipe makes 18 small sized buns,you could easily halve the recipe to make 9-10 buns and bake in a 6' or 7' round tin.
The filling is entirely up to your choice.I was intrigued with the idea of a sweet filling and the pouring of sugar syrup after the buns are baked so went with that.Keeping in mind the middle eastern origin,I used a coconut-nut filling which is a family favorite of ours.Remember Dilkush buns?
The day I decided to bake these buns was incidentally one of the warmest days in a while here,so the only problem I faced was the dough getting risen fast.and I mean real fast.As I was filling the buns one by one and placing in the pan,I could feel the earlier ones already beginning to rise hence you can see my bread has risen in a lopsided manner:)
Make sure your melted butter has cooled down a bit before using it. Put 2 cups of the flour, salt, sugar (if making the sweet bread only) and melted butter in the bowl of your processor.
Run a couple of times to mix well.
Combine the milk, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and keep for 5 minutes. Add this to the processor bowl and knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough which is not sticky.
Add as much of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as you need to get this consistency of bread dough. I used all of 2 1/2 cups of flour for mine.
Meanwhile,make the filling.I just went with a free hand with the ingredients,you can add more/less nuts or sugar according to your choice.
In a pan add about 1 tbsp ghee and saute cashewnuts and raisins(about 2 tbsp full).
Mix in about 2 tbsp sugar and 3 tbsp grated coconut and saute for a minute.Add 2-3 seedless dates chopped fine.Keep aside to cool.
Turn the dough out onto your work surface. You won’t really need to flour it as the dough is quite manageable as it is. Cut it into 2 halves.
With your palms, roll out each half a “rope” about 9” long. Cut each rope into 1” pieces so you have a total of 18 pieces.
Take each piece and flatten it out a little and place half a teaspoon of filling in the centre. Pull up the sides and wrap the dough around the filling, pinching it closed at the top. Smoothen it into a round ball.
Place this in a well-greased round 9” cake tin. Repeat with the remaining 17 pieces and the filling. Arrange the filled balls of dough in concentric circles, filling the base of the cake tin.
If you’re making the sweet version, make the sugar syrup/ glaze during the first rise of the dough. For this put the sugar, water and saffron in a small pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes until it starts thickening a bit. Take it off the heat and add the honey and the lime/ lemon juice. Mix well and let it cool. Keep aside till needed.