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Saturday, 16 February 2008

Morocco, part three: sweet pastilla

I love Saturday. A real, proper day off with a sleep-in at the end and vague memories of drunkenness from the night before. So, onto a sweet Moroccan dessert, perfect for the weekend.

Apple and cream pastilla for two

Three large apples (peeled and chopped into small cubes)
1-2 sheets of filo (to make about 6 small rounds)
250 grams of almonds
1/2 litre milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp orange flower water
2 tbsp honey
Corn starch

The do
First, a neat trick for shelling almonds: soak them in boiling water for about twenty minutes and the husk will slide right off. Then toast them on a low heat in the oven until they are golden. While the almonds are toasting, soften the chopped apple pieces in a pan with the butter and a sprinkling of nutmeg. Cut your filo sheets into rounds and toast them in the oven until they are crisp and golden. Roughly crush the almonds and mix them in a bowl with warmed honey until they are coated.

In a saucepan, bring the milk to the boil. As soon as it boils, lower the heat and whisk in some corn starch. Add the sugar and orange flower water. Simmer until it thickens into a cream and let it cool.

Lay a filo round on each plate, pile with some of the apple then the nut mix, drizzle with a little more warmed honey then repeat the layers until you've used all the mix. Finally, pour the cream over the top and crunch your spoon into this sweet pile of appley goodness.

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