Source: Lemon drizzle cake and date cookies: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Mother’s Day bakes – recipes

Sesame, Pecan and Date Cookies

Course Snack
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Keyword Cookie, Date, Pecan, Sesame
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 14 cookies


  • 100 g fine semolina
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 90 g butter room temperature, cubed
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon zested, to get 1 tsp, and juiced, to get 2 tsp
  • 100 g toasted pecans
  • 3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds plus 1 ½ tsp extra for sprinkling
  • 10 medjool dates stones removed (160g net)
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds toasted and finely ground in a mortar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice


  • Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas mark 4. Put the semolina, flour, sugar and butter in a large bowl with an eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Using the tips of your fingers, rub the mixture to a breadcrumb consistency. Add the vanilla, lemon juice and a teaspoon of water, mix into a pliable dough and set aside.
  • Put the pecans, sesame seeds, dates, fennel, lemon zest and orange juice in a food processor and blitz to a thick, almost smooth paste.
  • Put the dough between two sheets of baking paper, then roll it out into a roughly 34cm x 22cm rectangle that’s about 3mm thick. Using a spatula, carefully spread the date paste evenly over the dough, then, using the paper to help you, roll it into a log about 6-7cm in diameter.
  • Brush the top of the log with a little water, scatter on the remaining sesame seeds and use the paper to press the seeds into the top of the dough. Cut the log at an angle into 2cm-thick slices.
  • Arrange the slices seam side down on a lined baking sheet and with sesame-studded side facing up. Bake for 20-25 minutes, , rotating the cookies once halfway, until slightly golden on top, then remove and leave to cool.


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