First prepare the pan for steaming the couscous. For the sealing dough, mix the flour and water together in a bowl and scrape out onto a floured work surface. Knead briefly to form a rough, sticky dough, adding
While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the couscous to be cooked: place the grain in a bowl and add the water. Swish the water through the grain with the fingers of one hand splayed apart, raking through it. Tilt the bowl and drain away any excess water. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Line the couscousière or colander with a dampened napkin or piece of cheesecloth and add the grain. Cover and steam for 15 minutes.
While the grain is cooking, prepare the flavoring. Half fill a saucepan with water and add the pistachios. Bring to a boil and drain in a strainer. Pour the pistachios onto a towel, fold the towel over them, and rub to loosen the skins. Separate the pistachios from the skins, going over them carefully.
Combine the freshly blanched pistachios, almond extract, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process for 2 or 3 minutes, until very finely ground and beginning to become pasty. Add the oil
After the couscous has steamed for 15 minutes, remove it from the couscousière or colander in the cheesecloth and place it in a large nonreactive roasting pan. Spread it out with a fork and allow it to cool. Combine the water and salt and work into the cooled couscous, raking through with one hand. Add the pistachio paste in 3 or 4 additions, rubbing it and the couscous together with your fingertips.
Return the water in the bottom pan to a simmer and line the couscousière or colander with the dampened cheesecloth. Add the seasoned couscous to the couscousière or colander, cover, and steam for 15 minutes. Remove the couscous to the roasting pan, spread out with a fork, without compressing the mixture, and leave uncovered until cool.
Bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring to dissolve all the sugar granules, and cool the syrup. Work the cooled couscous between the palms of your hands to separate the grains, and add the syrup in 5 or 6 additions, fluffing the couscous with a fork. Allow the couscous to dry uncovered for several hours in a cool place, fluffing it with a fork occasionally until all the grains are separate. For advance preparation, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to several days.
To finish, fluff up the couscous with a fork so that the grains separate well, and mound on a platter. Sprinkle the couscous evenly with the grated chocolate, then the confectioners’ sugar, and decorate with no more than
© 1990 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.