M’hanncha Moroccan dessert (almond pastry)


M’hanncha, meaning “snake” or “coiled” in Arabic, is a delectable Moroccan dessert that has been enchanting taste buds for centuries. This pastry, known for its intricate spiral shape, is a true delight for those with a sweet tooth. Let’s explore the origins, interesting facts, and serving traditions surrounding this delightful Moroccan treat.

M’hanncha finds its roots in the vibrant culinary heritage of Morocco. Across generations, this delectable pastry has been cherished, especially in the cities of Fes and Marrakech. Its exact origin remains shrouded in culinary mystery, adding an air of intrigue to its timeless appeal. Culinary enthusiasts believe that diverse culinary traditions have influenced the creation of this delightful treat. This includes Berber, Arab, and Andalusian, contributing to its exceptional flavors and unique character.
Amidst joyous festivities such as weddings and family gatherings, this Moroccan dessert seamlessly takes on the role of a culinary centerpiece. After a hearty meal, this sweet indulgence takes center stage, delighting the senses with its exquisite flavors and enticing aromas. It pairs flawlessly with mint tea or Moroccan orange blossom water, creating a harmonious symphony of flavors.
There are regional variations, each showcasing its own unique twist on this delightful pastry. Each regional variation, in turn, adds a unique twist, elevating the flavors of this beloved Moroccan pastry to new and extraordinary heights. In Fez, cooks often prepare M’hanncha by incorporating a filling that showcases the luxurious and velvety texture of ground almonds. In Marrakech, M’hanncha embraces a delightful blend of flavors by adding both almonds and walnuts into its filling.

Explore the delightful possibilities and experiment with various nuts to add your unique twist to this traditional Moroccan dessert. Fearlessly unleash your creativity, making this M’hanncha Moroccan dessert a truly extraordinary creation that reflects your personal touch.

Moroccan Almond Pastry: mmmm M’hanncha dessert

Moroccan Almond Pastry, also known as M'hanncha dessert, is a delectable Moroccan delicacy. This pastry features a luscious almond filling encased in layers of flaky phyllo dough, forming an eye-catching spiral shape. Infused with the delightful flavors of orange blossom water and cinnamon, each bite is a heavenly experience.
Servings 6
Prep Time 30 minutes
Baking Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • a few tsp icing sugar
  • 1 packet of filo pastry ( 6-8 sheets) - 6-8 sheets


  • 200 g almonds
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter - melted


  • 1 egg yolk
  • butter - melted


  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp orange blossom water


  • Filling: In a food processor, combine all the dry ingredients for the filling and process until fine.
  • Filling: Add the remaining ingredients and half of the melted butter to the food processor. Blend until well combined, resulting in a thick paste with a texture similar to set honey.
    A bowl of luscious almond filling for M'hanncha, a Moroccan pastry delicacy
  • Take two sheets of dough and brush them with melted butter.
    Begin by placing tablespoon-sized portions of the filling along one edge of the filo pastry, then join these individual portions together, forming a seamless strip of filling.
    Step-by-step image guide: Spreading the luscious almond filling on a filo pastry sheet and rolling it for M'hanncha
  • Roll the dough carefully, tucking the ends inside to prevent the filling from spilling out. Repeat this process with the remaining sheets of dough.
    Step-by-step image guide: Spreading the luscious almond filling on a filo pastry sheet and rolling it for M'hanncha
  • Brush a baking tray with melted butter and sprinkle it with icing sugar.
    Now, you have the flexibility to either create a single large snake or swirl by combining the rolls, or make three separate smaller snakes or swirls with each roll. For my M'hanncha dessert, I decided to combine the rolls and create a single large swirl.
    Once you have all rolls prepared, transfer one onto the tray, begin by swirling this first roll gently, creating a central core.
    Then, proceed by carefully adding the remaining rolls one by one, continuing the swirling motion as you go. As each roll is added, ensure it seamlessly connects with the previous one, gradually forming a larger and more elaborate swirl.
    perfectly rolled M'hanncha, resembling a mesmerizing swirl or snake-like shape
  • Mix the remaining melted butter with the egg yolk and brush it over the pastry.
    M'hanncha ready to be baked to golden perfection
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F) and bake the pastry for approximately 20-25 minutes.
  • Once baked, carefully transfer the pastry to a serving plate. Prepare the syrup by mixing all the syrup ingredients and brush it over the baked pastry. Optionally, sprinkle some chopped pistachios or almonds on top.
    Baked M'hanncha with Syrup and Pistachios - Irresistible Moroccan Sweet Treat
  • Allow the pastry to cool COMPLETELY before serving. Slice it in a similar fashion to cutting a round cake, and relish the exquisite flavors of M'hanncha, the delectable Moroccan dessert. Bon appétit! Bessaha w'raha!
    Two Slices of M'hanncha Pastry on Plate - Delicious Moroccan Dessert


The calorie values provided are approximate estimates and may vary based on the size of the portions and any ingredient substitutions made. If the entire recipe is consumed, the total calorie content is approximately 2,366 calories.
When divided into 6 equal portions, each serving is approximately 394 calories. However, please remember that individual servings may vary depending on how the portions are cut.
Additionally, the suggested cooking time assumes a skilled cook. If you are less experienced or prefer a more leisurely pace, you may need to allocate more time for preparation.
Enjoy your culinary adventure and savor the delightful flavors of this delicious dessert! 🙂
Calories: 394kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Moroccan

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