Tuesday, 7 August 2012


Jan phoned to say she and Veronica were dropping in for coffee and Gauthier had eaten the last of the M'hanncha, I had a couple of hours to make some more.


1 pack of filo pastry
250g of icing sugar plus more for dredging
250g of unsalted butter
250g of ground almonds
2 tablespoons of SR flour
50g of pistachio nuts plus more for scattering over the finished cake
2 medium eggs
2 teaspoons of rosewater
good pinch of salt
50g of melted butter for brushing filo sheets.
Dried rose petals.


Heat the oven to 180 C and line a baking tin with cooking parchment.
Cream together the butter and the sugar along with the rosewater and salt,  beat in the eggs then mix in the ground almonds, roughly chopped pistachios and SR flour.

Carefully lay out a single sheet of filo pastry and spread a sixth of the mixture along the long edge. Brush the remaining part of the filo with a little melted butter and roll the long edge up to form a long sausage. I usually cut this in half in order to fit them into my baking tin, fill and roll the remaining 5 sheets of filo and fill the baking tin. Bake for 40 minutes at which point the cake should look a good golden brown.

Allow to cool and dredge with icing sugar, rose petals and pistachios, (actually Jan put on the rose petals and Pistachios so all credit to her!)

(1) Some rosewater is weaker in flavour, look out for the type sold in small bottles especially for culinary use.

(2) I have made a Gluten Free version of this cake by replacing the SR flour with a GF alternative then lining the cake tin with butter, a dusting of icing sugar and a liberal amount of flaked almonds. I then place in the mixture and spread more flaked almonds on the surface with a final dusting of icing sugar; this goes some way to replacing the pleasant crunch of the filo pastry. Dedicated to Gorgeous Julia!


  1. I read with just a tinge of envy!

  2. I just discovered your blog. I love the bread baking going on here, especially the last post!

    It's definitely not an authentic M'hancha but I like the flavours you are putting in (I'm Moroccan and Mhancha is our deal in the city where I come from)..We mostly use almonds and orange blossom water and definitely no eggs, Warka sheets are softer than filo as well..

    Pistachios and rose water together is very Middle Eastern (not Moroccan as Jamie Oliver keeps saying), However, having lived in the Middle East, these 2 flavours work really well..

    1. Hello Nada,
      thank you for your kind comment. You must have found this very odd, to have changed the original Moroccan recipe and produced something so different and still call it M'hanncha. Reading your description certainly makes me wish I could taste the original. I think historically the British have taken influences from other countries and modified them to suit our tastes, preparing anything with ground almonds, butter and sugar for a British person immediately suggests a frangipan filling so the addition of eggs to bind the mixture and produce something light and cohesive when baked, comes naturally to us. I can't imagine the texture of the filling without eggs, but I shall find an authentic Moroccan recipe to try it out. I will also try using orange flower water in place of rose water, I enjoy using orange flower water. Meanwhile do enjoy the blog, the Porcini & roasted hazelnut bread really is delicious, best wishes Tôbi