As I’m twiddling my thumbs until I start my new job next week, I’ve been looking at what ingredients I’ve got hanging about the kitchen and what deliciousness I can make. I first came across a recipe for M’hencha a couple of years ago but didn’t make it, although I was interested in making one at some point. Then this year I bought a date and orange one, it was delicious, the m’hencha was just on another level and for the last couple of months it’s been at the back of my mind that I need to make one. So I did and it turns out it’s really easy to make, which could be a little dangerous.
The dish served today is a spiced clementine, date and chocolate m’hencha, otherwise known as a snake cake from morocco. This M’hencha is a mix of nuts, dates, spices, and chocolate encased is crisp phyllo pastry, dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon. I’m really pleased with my first attempt and think it makes a rather nice alternative to a mince pie or piece of Christmas cake. I’ll definitely be making this later in the month for the festivities and I hope you do too.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
12 sheets phyllo pastry
150ml clementine juice
Zest of 4 clementines
200g date paste
50g pistachios, shelled
40g cocoa powder
100g vanilla sugar
80g icing sugar
1 egg white
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp green cardamom, ground
1/4 tsp cloves, ground
1 tsp orange blossom water
100g unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp icing sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon, ground
Preheat the oven to 180c
Grease and line a 10-inch cake tin
In a food processor place the clementine juice, zest, almonds, pistachios, cocoa powder, date paste, vanilla sugar, icing sugar, egg white, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and orange blossom water, pulse the mixture to get a textured paste and place in a bowl.
To assemble the pastry, melt the butter and lay out a large length of cling wrap.
Unwrap the phyllo pastry, placing 4 sheets each over lapping short ends on top of the cling wrap.
Using a pastry brush work quickly and brush the pastry with the melted butter, ensure you brush between the over lapping edges. Then place a sheet of pastry over each of the buttered layer and repeat with the rest of the phyllo, making sure the top layer is also buttered.
Take the m’hencha filling; make a line of filling along the longest edge of the pastry nearest to you.
Using the cling wrap to help you start to turn the edge of the pastry over the filling and continue to roll, remove the cling film and discard.
Ensure the pastry seam is on the underside of the rolled pastry, brush with the remaining butter and gently coil the pastry around itself, at the end tuck the pastry slightly under the coil, place in the cake tin and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and cool in the tin.
When cooled, remove from the tin and dust with the icing sugar and cinnamon. Serve on its own or with some whipped cream and a mint tea.