Cultural background

  • Population 36,342,087 people
  • Rabat is the capital of Morocco.
  • Most people in Morocco are Sunni Muslim, a little amount are Christians and very few are Jewish.
  • People in Morocco speaks Arabic and Berber and French.
  • Morocco’s landscape is mountains with slopes and valleys. The highest peak of the Atlas Mountains is Jebel Toubkal, 4,165 meters.
  • The weather in Morocco is dry, but it can be both snow in the Atlas Mountains while it is sunny and 20 degrees Celsius in Marrakech south of the Atlas Mountains.
  • Countries bordering Morocco are Spain, Algeria and Western Sahara. Sahara Desert is blanketed the southeastern of the region.
  • Green tea with mint and sweetened with sugar is a popular beverage in Morocco.
  • Football is very popular in Morocco. The national soccer team where the first African and Arab country to make the 2nd round of a World Cup.

Culinary information

In Morocco almond-paste sweets is often a part of the menu. This dessert is rolled like a snake. To make it easier the m’hancha may be shaped into small, small stick-like at 8cm length and 3 cm high.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (400g) almond
  • 200g unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup (120g) pure icing sugar
  • 2 tsp each orange blossom water, vanilla bean paste and ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 orange
  • 1 x 375g packet fresh filo pastry
  • 2 tbs. caster sugar
  • A tsp of orange zest and a tbs juice of an orange

Orange and cinnamon syrup ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange and juice of 2 oranges
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Kitchen utensils

  • Knife
  • Grater
  • Stirring ladle
  • Chopping board
  • Roasting pan

Preparation

Cooking hour: 1 1/2 hour

  1. Place almond, 50g butter, icing sugar, orange blossom water, vanilla, cinnamon and egg in a food processor.
  2. Finely grate orange and add zest with 1 tbs juice to the almond mixture. Whiz until combined (the texture will be a thick paste).
  3. Divide pastry into 9 pieces and roll each into a thin sausage. Chill until firm.
  4. Melt the remaining 150g butter and brush half the filo sheets with butter. Top each with a second unbuttered filo sheet.
  5. Place 1 sausage along the long edge of each pastry sheet. Enclose the sausage in filo, rolling up to form a cylinder. Repeat with remaining sausages and filo.
  6. Brush a 28cm round pan with butter and roll up filo cylinders to form a spiral shape, pressing the edges together tightly. Brush with remaining melted butter and scatter with sugar.
  7. Preheat oven to 180°C. Bake for 35 minutes or until crisp and golden.
  8. When ready to serve, for syrup, combine sugar and orange zest and juice in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. Cool slightly, then stir through cinnamon. Pour over pastry. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Other aspects

It is important to wash hands before and while cooking.