This delicate, layered dessert is traditionally made with warga pastry – a very thin, delicate Moroccan pastry that can be hard to come by unless you make it yourself. Filo pastry makes a good substitute.
- 4 sheets filo pastry
- 40 g butter, melted
- icing sugar, to dust
- 55 g (⅓ cup) dry roasted whole almonds, coarsely chopped
- 3 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch ground cardamom
- 375 ml (1½ cups) milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 110 g (½ cup) sugar
- 2 tsp orange flower water
- 1 tsp natural vanilla essence or extract
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 190°C (170°C fan forced). Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
Stack the filo sheets on a benchtop and cover with a dry tea towel and then a damp tea towel. Take a sheet of filo and brush with the melted butter. Lay another sheet of filo on top and brush again with butter. Use an 8 cm round cutter to cut out 6 circles from the double sheet and place in a single layer on the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining filo sheets and butter to make 24 rounds in total. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, swapping the trays around after 5 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool on the trays.
To make the crème anglaise, bring the milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Gradually whisk in the hot milk and then return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly with the whisk, for 10-15 minutes or until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (do not simmer). Remove from the heat and stir through the orange flower water and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
To make the almond sprinkle, combine the almonds, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. Set aside.
To serve, place a pastry round on each serving plate. Top with a spoonful of crème anglaise and then sprinkle with a little of the almond sprinkle. Continue to layer with the pastry rounds, crème anglaise and almond sprinkle, finishing with a pastry round. Sprinkle the top pastry rounds liberally with icing sugar and serve immediately.
• The pastry rounds can be baked up to 1 week before serving. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature.
• The crème anglaise can be made up to 3 days before serving. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
• The almond sprinkle can be made up to 2 weeks before serving. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. Read our interview with her or for hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Trish McLeish.
Encaustic hexagonal tiles from Surface Gallery. Vitro dinner plate from The Chef and The Cook.
For more recipes, view our online column, Bakeproof: Moroccan spice.