Mhancha, a traditional Moroccan pastry filled with almonds and perfumed with orange-blossom water, is the perfect way to finish off your Moroccan banquet.
Prep. time: 25 min
Cooking time:25 min
- 16 sheets filo pastry
- 1 egg yolk, lightly whisked with 1 tbsp cold water
- 80 g unsalted butter, melted
- 150 g honey, warmed
- icing sugar, ground cinnamon and white sesame seeds, to sprinkle
- 500 g blanched almonds
- 150 g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp orange-blossom water (see Note)
- 150 g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- To make almond filling, place almonds and sugar in a food processor and blend to a paste, add orange-blossom water and process until combined.
- Place butter and almond paste in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until slightly darker in colour.
- Remove from heat and cool completely.
- Add egg yolk and cinnamon and mix to a firm paste.
- Shape almond filling into 8 x 33 cm-long, 3 cm-thick logs.
- Working with one sheet of pastry at a time, and keeping the others covered with a lightly dampened tea towel, brush lightly with egg yolk mixture and top with another sheet.
- Place 1 almond log in the centre and roll pastry around to enclose.
- Continue process with remaining pastry and logs.
- Working with one log at a time, shape into a tight spiral on an oven tray, then continue with remaining logs, pressing ends together, to make one large spiral. B
- rush evenly with melted butter and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
- Brush with honey.
- Cool completely then dust with icing sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C.