Monday, April 20, 2020

Recipe: M’Hanncha Coiled Serpent Cake

This crescent shaped pastry is stuffed with delicately flavored almond paste and coated with icing sugar. M'hanncha means "the snake" and this pastry certainly looks like a snake. It is made of filo dough and is then coiled like a snake. It is filled with an almond paste. You can make a large pastry with larger sheets of filo, or you can make individual sizes, which is much easier.


8 sheets of filo pastry
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1 egg beaten
1 tsp cinnamon
Powdered sugar for dusting

4 Tbsp butter, melted
2 c ground almonds
½ tsp almond extract
½ c powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp rose or orange flower water


First make the paste. In a food processor, grind the sugar and almonds together. Add the cinnamon and butter and blend until smooth. Chill for about 10 minutes. Break paste into 10 even balls, roll into sausage shapes and chill again.

Place 2 sheets of pastry dough on work surface so they just overlap to form a 7 x 22 rectangle. Brush overlap with butter to secure, then brush all over. Cover with two more sheets, brush again. Place 5 almond sausages along lower edge of rectangle. Shape the roll into a loose coil on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Repeat with other half of ingredients – continuing the coil to make a snake. Beat egg and ½ the cinnamon, brush onto cake.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Carefully invert onto another baking sheet and bake another 5-10 minutes. Dust with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Try this and learn more by watching our Taste of Morocco episode. Thanks Alili!

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