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The Snake Pastry (M'hanncha)
From Dorothy McNett's recipes at www.dorothymcnett.com. This is fun to make and even more fun to serve! Don't worry too much about the exact measurements of the phyllo sheets and the cylinders of almond paste you will be making. You can adjust the size as needed as you work with it.
1/2 pound (2 cups) slivered blanched almonds
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup powdered sugar (organic is best!)
1/4 cup rosewater or orange flower water
phyllo pastry sheets, defrosted as per package directions
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, whisked
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
powdered sugar for sprinkling
more cinnamon for decoration
In food processor with steel chopping blade in place, process almonds to finely grind them. Add butter, almond extract, powdered sugar and the rose or orange flower water. Process to make a solid, well blended mass. Chill. Shape the almond paste into 10 balls and then roll each into a cylinder about 5 inches long. Chill.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 9 - 10 inch round cake pan with a bit of the melted butter and set aside. Spread out 1 sheet of the pastry and brush with a little melted butter. Cover with another sheet and brush it also. Add a 3rd sheet in the same manner, and then a 4th one. Place about 2 - 3 cylinders of almond paste along the lower edge about 2 inches from the bottom. Roll it up tightly, tucking in the ends. Shape into a loose coil. Place the coil in the center of the buttered cake pan. Repeat the same procedure with more pastry and almond paste, adding to the snake in the pan to make it fill the pan. Whisk the egg in a glass measuring cup and add the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, then brush the top of the snake with it. Bake 35 - 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool and then place on a serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Dribble cinnamon in straight lines to form a lattice pattern. Serve!!!
Recipe created 2011-05-10.
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