M'HANNCHA (SNAKE CAKE)
- To Make the Orange-Almond Paste:
- Combine the almonds, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom in a food processor or blender and pulse to grind into a coarse meal. Add the butter and egg yolks and pulse until blended. Scrape the paste into a bowl, and stir in the orange-flower water, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla. Divide the paste into 12 balls, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Set the balls on a work surface dusted with confectioners' sugar. Roll each one into a 3 1/2-inch-long log. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- To Assemble the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a large baking sheet. Dust a work surface with confectioners' sugar. Place a sheet of phyllo pastry on the sugared work surface, and fold it in thirds to form a 4- by 17-inch rectangle. Brush the sheet with melted butter. Add another folded phyllo sheet, brush with butter, and repeat, until you have four buttered sheets.
- Set four orange-almond paste logs in a row down one long end of the phyllo, and roll the pastry up over them into a cylinder. Fold over the ends and brush on some melted butter to seal the seams. Shape the cylinder into a small, tight coil and place on the baking sheet, seam side down.
- Repeat to prepare two more phyllo rolls. Add each to the end of the coil on the baking sheet, forming a large coil.
- Combine the egg yolks, water, and cinnamon. Brush the mixture over the top of the cake.
- To Bake:
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove the cake from the oven, and let cool on the baking sheet.
- To Serve:
- Stir together the confectioners' sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle on the cake, and top with sliced almonds.
M'HANNCHA (THE SNAKE)
- Place the almonds, sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a food processor and process to a paste.
- Divide the mixture into 8, place one portion (about 2.5cm/1 inch thick) lengthways down the side of one piece of phyllo pastry, then roll the pastry around the stuffing forming a sausage.
- Coil the sausage to form a snail's shell then set aside and cover with a damp tea towel whilst you repeat with the remaining 7 pieces of pastry.
- Heat the butter in a large frying pan until hot, then fry the pastries until browned on both sides. You may have to do this in batches adding more butter if necessary. Drain on kitchen paper.
- To serve - Sprinkle the pastries with cinnamon and icing sugar. Serve warm or cold.
Nutrition Facts : Calories 501.2, Fat 20.3, SaturatedFat 3.9, Cholesterol 6.3, Sodium 576.5, Carbohydrate 69, Fiber 4.9, Sugar 12.9, Protein 12.1
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Top Asked Questions
What is the Snake dessert called in Morocco?Recipe for “The snake” (m’hanncha) by Paula Wolfert. "'The snake' is one of the best desserts in Moroccan confectionery, a treat not to be missed," writes Paula Wolfert. "It is served most often after a special dinner, with a glass of mint tea.
How do you make m'hancha?Allow the snake pastry to cool, then generously sift powdered sugar over the top. If desired, ground cinnamon may be added to the garnish, either by dusting lightly over the powdered sugar or by arranging thin lines of cinnamon across the top. To make m'hancha in advance, completely shape the pastry, including brushing with the egg wash.
How do you make Snake pastry with honey?Heat the honey in a small saucepan until hot and thin. Stir in a small spoonful or two of orange flower water. Brush as much honey syrup as desired over the still-warm pastry and garnish with chopped or sliced almonds. Leave to cool before serving. Allow the snake pastry to cool, then generously sift powdered sugar over the top.
What is “the Snake”?Recipe for “The snake” (m’hanncha) by Paula Wolfert. "'The snake' is one of the best desserts in Moroccan confectionery, a treat not to be missed," writes Paula Wolfert.