Al­mond mhen­cha

MOVE OVER MINCE PIES, TRY NARGISSE BENKABBOU’S MOROC­CAN PAS­TRIES IN­STEAD

In the Moment - - Desserts -

METHOD

1 Pre­heat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4.

2 To make the al­mond paste to fill the mhen­cha,

trans­fer the al­monds and sugar into a nut

grinder or a food pro­ces­sor and blend un­til you

have a moist paste (about 5 min­utes). Add in the

orange blos­som wa­ter and but­ter and blend for

a few sec­onds. Re­move the paste and di­vide it

into 8 equal parts. Shape each part into long

tubes (ap­prox­i­mately 30cm/12in) and cover.

3 Place a filo pas­try sheet on a work sur­face

and brush it with melted but­ter (keep the other

sheets cov­ered with a cloth to avoid dry­ing out).

Take an al­mond paste tube, place it on the long

side of the sheet and loosely roll up the sheet.

Don’t over­tighten the pas­try when rolling it

be­cause it will break dur­ing the bak­ing process.

Cover the rolled sheet with more melted but­ter

and roll it up to form a snug coil. Place the

mhen­cha onto a lined bak­ing sheet and re­peat

un­til you’ve used all the al­mond paste and filo

sheets. Trans­fer to the warm oven un­til they are

baked and lightly golden (about 15 min­utes).

4 Mean­while, heat the honey in a small saucepan

over a medium heat. Once it’s foamy, re­duce the

heat. When the pas­tries are baked, im­me­di­ately

trans­fer in batches to the sim­mer­ing honey and

soak for two min­utes.

5 Re­move to a flat dish to cool be­fore serv­ing.

Dec­o­rate with chopped peanuts and/or freezedried berries as de­sired.

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