Date, almond and honey b'stilla
Saturday 09 January 2010
B'stilla usually refers to the Moroccan pie made with pigeon, which has a sweet and savoury element containing almonds, cinnamon and sugar. This is my own take on the dessert version of b'stilla, usually made with a rich creamy custard. I've spared you the task of making the warka pastry this time; all you have to do is assemble this like a b'stilla. You can find warka pastry in Middle Eastern shops.
20 good quality dates, stoned
100g ground almonds
1 egg, beaten
4tbsp clear honey, preferably a perfumed honey such as chestnut or lavender
60g butter, melted
4 sheets of warka, or filo pastry measuring about 25-26cm square
15g flaked almonds
tbsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Brush a 20cm, non-stick, shallow cake tin with butter. Lay the pastry squares in the pan at alternate angles so the corners form the points of a star, brushing each layer well with butter before laying the next on top. Give the top layer of pastry a final brush with the butter.
Mix the almonds with the egg and 3 tablespoons of the honey. Put half the dates on to the pastry and spread the almond mixture over. Put the rest of the dates on top and fold the pastry into the centre, overlapping it and completely covering the dates. Brush with butter and cook for 40 minutes.
Pour the rest of the honey over the pastry, scatter on the almonds and bake for a further 10 minutes until the almonds are toasted. Remove from the oven; leave to cool a little, dust with icing sugar and serve in slices with thick cream, sweetened yoghurt, or crème fraîche.
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