World Cuisine

Little 'M'Hanncha' (Moroccan 'Snakes')

prep 30 mins cook 15 mins
  • 500 g (1 lb) blanched almonds, plus 10 extra to decorate
  • 300 g (10 oz) caster sugar
  • 5 tablespoons orange-flower water
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 150 g (5 oz) butter, melted
  • 10 sheets of filo pastry
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 300 g (10 oz) honey

Chop the almonds in a blender, then add the sugar and 1 tablespoon of the orange-flower water and chop again until fine. Tip the mixture into a bowl and add the cinnamon and 50 g (2 oz) of the butter. Mix to a paste and form into 10 rolls, 15 cm (6 inches) long and 2 cm (1 inch) wide. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F), Gas Mark ½.

Cut each sheet of filo in two. Brush a half-sheet with melted butter, top with another half-sheet and brush it with butter. With the long edges facing you, fold over a 2.5 cm (1 inch) border and stick with the beaten egg. Place an almond roll along the folded edge and roll up in the filo, then roll the length into a spiral. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheets and rolls of filling. Place on an oiled baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Press a whole almond into the centre of each spiral. Transfer to the oven and cook for 12–15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the honey and remaining orange-flower water together.

Dip the cooked cakes, still hot, in the honey mixture and arrange on a serving platter.

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