vegan ‘milk’ pastilla (Moroccan dessert with f…

vegan ‘milk’ pastilla (Moroccan dessert with fried warqa dough, crème anglaise, and fried almonds)

INGREDIENTS:

for the warqa dough:

  • 1 ¾ cup high-gluten bread flour
  • ¼ cup semolina flour / durum flour (or substitute all-purpose flour)
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ¾ cup water

for the crème anglaise:

  • 2 cups (.5L) soy milk. a different dairy substitute might work as long as it’s suitably thick.
  • ¾ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 ½ tbsp orange blossom water

for the topping:

  • about 1 cup almonds
  • a few teaspoons powdered or granulated sugar
  • a few teaspoons ground cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS:

to make the warqa dough:

1. add flours and sugar to a food processor and pulse a few times to sift.

2. add the wet ingredients and process on low for 1-2 minutes, until you get a smooth batter.

3. refrigerate the batter for at least two hours, or overnight.

4. bring a few inches of water to a fast boil in a large pot, and place a large, nonstick pan over the pot, tying it with kitchen string if necessary–this will help to evenly distribute heat and prevent the warqa from drying out. allow the pan to heat for a few minutes.

5. using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of batter onto the pan in large, circular strokes, filling the entire pan. carefully apply a second layer to any bare spots (but don’t worry about small holes or feathery edges).

6. cook until the warqa becomes opaque and the edges start to curl, about 2 minutes. loosen the edges of the dough with a spatula and peel the dough off of the pan using your hands.

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7. flip the dough over onto a plate covered with a paper towel, and lay another paper towel on top of it. repeat, stacking the sheets of dough on top of each other, until you’ve used all of the batter. let cool while you make the cream.

for the crème anglaise:

1. dissolve the cornstarch in a few tablespoons of the cold milk–if you heat cornstarch before it’s dissolved it will clump up.

1. add the remaining soy milk, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and cloves to a medium-sized pan. heat on medium, whisking constantly, until the milk begins to simmer (don’t let it boil rapidly). reduce heat to low.

2. remove the cinnamon and cloves. add the cornstarch mixture and whisk continuously for 5-10 minutes until the cream mixture is the desired consistency–a bit thinner than a custard.

3. remove from heat and add orange blossom water.

for the topping:

1. blanch the almonds by boiling them in water for about a minute, emptying them into a colander and rinsing with cool water, and gently pinching the skins to remove them.

2. fill a large pan with 1-2 cm of vegetable oil and heat until sizzling. fry the almonds for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until golden brown. drain and allow to cool, using a paper towel to remove excess oil.

3. roughly chop the almonds, or pulse them a few times in a food processor.

4. mix the sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl.

to fry the warqa dough (immediately before serving):

1. heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a pan on medium until sizzling.

2. take two sheets of warqa dough at a time. fry for about a minute on each side until golden brown and crispy. set aside on a plate, once again interspersing paper towels in between each sheet.

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to assemble:

1. start with a sheet of fried warqa dough. top with a few spoonfuls of crème anglaise, then some fried almonds, and then some cinnamon sugar. then add another layer of warqa, more cream, almonds, and cinnamon sugar. this dessert works well served buffet-style so everyone can take the quantities they prefer.