For the dough: Cous cous is cooked in a special double boiler called a couscousiera. A makeshift couscousiera can be made by placing a colander over a similar-size pot and sealing the two together with simple dough to prevent steam from escaping. To make the dough: Combine 1 cup flour with enough water to create dough. Roll the dough into a long rope and use as a seal.
For the cous cous: Place half the durum wheat in a large bowl. Add splashes of water, salt, cinnamon, and extra-virgin olive oil, while stirring/raking the durum wheat in a circular motion with your hand. You should use approximately 1/2 the quantities of water, salt, cinnamon and extra-virgin olive oil at this point. Continue working in a circular motion, constantly stirring to moisten the grains evenly. Rub the mixture between your hands to remove any lumps that may form. If the mixture becomes too wet, add some more durum wheat, if it becomes too dry, add some more water. The mixture should form into small pellets. If you have not achieved small pellets, rub and rake some more. Add the remaining durum wheat, salt, cinnamon and extra-virgin olive oil and repeat the process above. Transfer the cous cous to a colander and embed the zest of 1 lemon in the cous cous. Rest the colander over a pot of boiling water. Let the cous cous steam for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Serve with seafood, stewed meats and/or vegetables, or use as a base for Marilu's cous cous dessert recipe follows.
Place the cooked cous cous, butter, sugar, pine nuts, raisins, almonds, hazelnuts, and water in a mixing bowl. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients. Cover the bowl and let rest for at least 1/2 an hour. Butter a ramekin to prevent sticking. Firmly pack some cous cous mixture in the ramekin and invert onto an individual dessert plate, so that the form of the cous cous is released from the ramekin. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Repeat for other individual plates and serve.
The pot should be tall enough so that colander is not immersed in the water. Use the dough as a seal to prevent the steam from escaping between the colander and the pot.
Recipe courtesy of David Rocco