M'hencha Celebration Cake

  • For the Filling
  • 350g whole blanched almonds
  • 50g pistachios, chopped
  • 380g icing sugar
  • 400g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 100 grams dried sour cherries, chopped
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 tbsp rosewater
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 12 sheets filo pastry
  • Extra butter, melted, for brushing
  • For the Garnish
  • 2 tbsp extra pistachios, chopped
  • Fresh roses/rose petals
  • Pared zest of an orange and a lemon
  • Icing sugar to dust

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Take a handful of the almonds (about 50 grams) and toast them in a dry frying pan, until lightly golden, then add these along with the remaining almonds to a food processor and blend until they resemble breadcrumbs (but not quite as fine as packet ground almond – you want a little bit of texture).

2. In a large bowl mix together the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and then stir in the remaining ingredients.

3. Cut the filo sheets in half lengthways so that you now have 24 rectangular sheets. Take two sheets, brush with butter and place one on top of the other.

4. Take the next two sheets, brush with butter and add to the short side of the first to sheets overlapping by about two inches.

5. Depending on how long your counter is you can keep going to make a long strip of pastry, otherwise you can make smaller ones and arrange them in the tin.

6. Starting about two inches in from the short edge and about half an inch in from the bottom of the long edge dollop or pipe the filling mixture all the way along the length of the pastry strip. Leave a two in gap at the end.

7. Carefully lift over the bottom edge and roll into a long cigar. Tuck the unfilled end underneath and then carefully roll it into a long coil. This goes into the oven for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely before stacking and garnishing.

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