Moroccan Almond Phyllo Pastries (A Take On M'hanncha) Recipe

Carrie Vasios

These sweet coils are inspired by the traditional Moroccan pastry M'hanncha, or snake cake, in which phyllo pastry is stuffed with a spiced nut mixture. Here, almonds take center stage.

Adapted from A World of Cake.

Recipe Facts

Active: 40 mins
Total: 110 mins
Serves: 6 servings

Rate & Comment


For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw almonds

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

For Assembly:

  • 12 (12- by 17-inch) sheets phyllo dough

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  1. For filling: In the bowl of a food processor, combine almonds and confectioners' sugar and pulse until a coarse meal. Add cinnamon, cardamom, egg yolk, vanilla, and butter and pulse until mixture is a paste. It doesn't have to be completely smooth though the almonds should be ground very fine. Cover paste with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  3. Lay one sheet of phyllo on prepared baking sheet. Brush with butter then fold in half lengthwise, creating a 6- by 8 1/2-inch rectangle. Brush top of rectangle with more butter, then lay a second sheet of phyllo on top, placing it so that the long edge on the one side is aligned (new sheet of phyllo should hang off the other edge). Brush the aligned-half of the top sheet of phyllo with more butter and fold over to match the 6- by 8 1/2-inch rectangle formed by the first. You should end up with a stack of phyllo that is four sheets thick. Repeat with two more pieces of phyllo to produce a 6- by 8 1/2-inch stack of phyllo 8 layers thick.

  4. Repeat step 3 with remaining 8 sheets phyllo dough, forming three rectangles of 8 layers each total.

  5. Divide almond filling into three equal parts. Roll one part into a 8 1/2-inch log. Lay log alongside phyllo then roll up, jelly roll style, to form a rope. Curl rope into a tight coil and brush with butter.

  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 twice more, creating two more coils. Bake coils until golden, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely then dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Special equipment

Food processor, pastry brush, baking sheet, parchment paper

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
573 Calories
44g Fat
37g Carbs
10g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 573
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 44g 57%
Saturated Fat 19g 96%
Cholesterol 133mg 44%
Sodium 410mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 97mg 7%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 254mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)