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This recipe is a traditional pastry from Northern Africa, perfect for breakfast or dessert. The pastry is filled with an almond paste, baked, then dipped in a honey syrup while still hot.

Chef Martin Benn developed this recipe to complement the sweet and wild berry notes of NESCAFÉ Farmers Origins Africas Ristretto Coffee Pods – Approved for Nespresso Machines.
Prep time 20 min
Cook time 30 min
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

INGREDIENTS FOR
6 SERVINGS
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METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. For the Almond Paste, place the sieved icing sugar into a large deep bowl and add in the cinnamon, almond meal and flour. Stir together to combine, and set to one side.
  3. In a separate bowl add in the egg, salt, vanilla, orange blossom water and almond essence and whisk together.
  4. In a small pan add in the butter and gently melt, then whisk this into the egg mixture well to combine. Pour the egg mixture into the icing sugar and almond meal and mix until the paste combines together.
  5. Divide the mix into 6 x 80g pieces. Roll each of the almond paste into logs of around 30cm each. Set aside.
  6. For the Mhencha, work with 3 sheets of filo at one time. Place the first sheet of filo onto the bench top in a landscape position. Brush the sheet liberally with the melted butter and then place a second sheet on top. Brush again with the melted butter and place the final sheet of filo on top. Finally brush the top sheet with the melted butter.
  7. Place the log of almond paste at the base of the filo closest to you, approx. 1cm from the edge. Gently roll the filo pastry over the almond paste and roll up giving it a brush of butter as you do so, to form a long tube.
  8. Once rolled, lightly trim one end and then carefully curl the end around to create a coil or, snake like shape. Once coiled up trim the end on a slight angle and tuck it under itself to hold in place. Brush the top with melted butter and place onto a lightly greased baker’s sheet. Mix the egg yolk with a little water and then brush the Mhencha all over to coat.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 with the remaining almond and filo to prepare sex Mhencha in total.
  10. Place the Mhencha into the pre heated oven and bake for 15 - 17 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
  11. While the Mhencha are in the oven, pour the honey into a heavy based pan and bring to the boil. Using a thermometer heat the honey to 120c. At this stage add in the raspberries and bring back to the boil.
  12. Add rose water to the pan and bring back to the boil again. Remove from the heat and let set for about 1 minute.
  13. Using a fork, crush the raspberries to break up. Place pan back on to the heat and bring to the boil again. Remove from heat and set aside to infuse for a few minutes.
  14. Pass the liquid through a fine meshed sieve into a deep bowl and set aside.
  15. Once the Mhencha is baked, remove from the oven. While still hot, work with one Mhencha at a time and place into the caramelised honey and raspberry liquid, allowing to soak into the filo. Leave in liquid for around 1-2 minutes, turning every so often.
  16. Remove from the syrup and place onto a tray lined with a rack to drain off the excess syrup. Repeat with the remaining Mhencha.
  17. Place onto a serving plate, sprinkle over the pistachio and finish with dried rose petals.
TIP:
While working with filo, cover the remaining sheets with a damp cloth so that they do not dry out and crack.

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