Pear, almond and honey b'stilla

Serves 4-6
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Filo pastry lends itself to sweet, sticky desserts. Even savoury Moroccan b'stilla made with wafer-thin warka pastry and pigeon is pretty sweet, as it contains lots of almonds and sugar, but it's typically Moroccan to mix sweet and savoury like that.

This is my own version of a b'stilla (or pastilla as its sometimes spelt) au lait. The original consists of layers of warka pastry, the north African version of filo, sandwiched together with a really sweet pastry cream.

I've spared you the tedious task of making the warka pastry this time, so all you have to do is assemble this like a b'stilla. If you can find warka pastry in a Middle Eastern shop buy it, if not filo pastry is easy to find.

1kg ripe pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
100g ground almonds
1 egg, beaten
4tbsp clear honey, preferably a perfumed honey like chestnut or lavender
60g butter, melted
4 sheets of warka, or filo pastry measuring about 25-26cm square
15g flaked almonds
1/2tbsp icing sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Brush a 20cm, preferably non-stick, ovenproof pan or shallow cake tin with butter. Lay the pastry f 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 pears on to the pastry and spread the almond mixture over the pears. Put the rest of the pears on top and fold the pastry into the centre, overlapping it and completely covering the pears. Brush well 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 nicely toasted. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little, dust with icing sugar and serve in slices with some thick cream, sweetened yoghurt, or crème fraîche.

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