While Moroccan meals typically conclude with a helping of fresh fruit (figs, dates, oranges with cinnamon), or just a mint tea, the most common dessert is a selection of classic Moroccan patisseries, notable among them being Kaab el Ghazal, or gazelle horns. Flavoured with cinnamon and orange blossom water, they consist of a scented almond paste wrapped in delicate pastry, moulded into a crescent shape and baked until just golden. Here is the recipe.
Making Almond Paste
To make these delicious little sweetmeats, you need first to create the almond paste. For this, you will need the following ingredients (enough to make 50 ‘gazelle horns’).
- 500 g (1 lb) skinned, blanched almonds
- 275 g (1 1/3 cups) sugar
- 75 ml (1/3 cup) orange blossom water
- 60 g (1/4 cup) melted, unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Gum Arabic or mastic powder (optional)
Grind the almonds in a food processor for about five minutes and then mould the resulting mix into a paste. Using your fingers to mix them thoroughly, add the remaining ingredients into the paste, adding extra cinnamon, sugar and/or orange flower water to produce the desired flavour. Shape small portions of this paste into sticks, each roughly the size of the little finger; cover and place them into the fridge.