Thursday, June 15, 2006

Honey-dipped Briouats with Almond Paste

Barbara from Tigers & Strawberries came up with an very interesting theme for this month's The Spice is Right and that is the perfumed garden. Now with winter well entrenched here I've headed to the cupboard for some inspiration and in it's come in the form of a bottle of Orange-Blossom Water.

orange blossom water© by haalo

Orange-blossom water is produced from the blossom of the sour orange tree - most notably Seville orange blossoms. It's mainly used in syrups and served with fruits though it can be added sparingly to savoury dishes as seen in many middle eastern dishes. A very simple use is to just add a spoonful to fresh orange juice to make it a little special.

The recipe I'm making uses Orange-blossom water in the filling and in the dipping syrup and comes from "A little taste of Morocco" by Tess Mallos.

Honey-dipped Briouats©  by Haalo

Honey-dipped Briouats with almond paste

Almond Filling:
200g ground almonds
90g unsalted butter
60g icing sugar
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon orange flower water

6 sheets filo pastry
125g smen (see note below), melted

260g honey
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon orange flower water

Under a medium heat, add the ground almonds to a heavy-based saucepan and stir constantly until lightly browned - about 3-4 minutes. Tip out into a bowl when done.

Add the butter to the pan and stir until melted. Let this cool before adding it to the toasted ground almonds along with the icing sugar, almond extract and 1 tablespoon of the orange flower water. Mix thoroughly - set aside while you prepare the filo.

Stack the sheets on a cutting board with the longer side toward you and cut into strips 11cm (4½ inches) wide and 28-30 cm (11½ - 12 inches) long. Stack the sheets in the folds of a tea towel to prevent them from drying out.

Take a sheet and place in on your board, brush half of it lengthways with smen, then fold in half to give a strip 5.5cm/2¼ inches wide. Brush over the top with smen then place a heaped tablespoon of the filling towards the end of the strip. Fold the end diagonally across the filling so that the base lines up with the side of the strip, forming a triangle.

Honey-dipped Briouats©  by Haalo Honey-dipped Briouats©  by Haalo

Continue folding in the same manner to the end of the strip - trim any excess pastry with a knife. Repeat with the remaining sheets and filling and when completed, brush the tops lightly with smen. This should make 18 briouats.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Do this after the triangles have all been made to ensure the kitchen is cool and doesn't dry out the pastry.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and lightly golden.

Place the honey, water and orange flower water in a 1.5 litre saucepan. Just before removing pastries from oven, bring this mixture to the boil before reducing to a low heat. Put two hot pastries into the honey, leave for 20 seconds then remove with two forks to a baking paper lined tray. Repeat with the remaining pastries. Be careful as the honey will bubble and rise when you place the pastries in.

Honey-dipped Briouats©  by Haalo

Let the pastries cool before serving them - they are best eaten on the day they are made.

A note on Smen

Smen is a clarified butter with milk solids that have been allowed to brown slightly, giving it a nutty flavour. You can make this yourself.

Cut 250g (9 oz) of salted or unsalted butter into pieces and place them in a heavy based saucepan over a low heat. Simmer on the lowest flame possible for 25 minutes. Pour through a sieve lined with muslin - the clear oil collected is the smen and this can be stored in the fridge in a sealed jar. It should keep for a few months.


  1. AnonymousJune 17, 2006

    I've had these around ramadan. They are really wonderful--thank you for posting the recipe+instructions

  2. Hi Jessica - thank you for the comments - they were really interesting to make and have a wonderful flavour - it will be something I'll make again.

  3. Hi Katy - they taste even better than they look!

  4. I've been looking for this recipe for a long time. I will substitute the smen with ghee which should turn out nicely.


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