It was role reversal for me on my first visit to Marrakesh (it was also my first visit to North Africa) where I attended some cookery classes. Normally I’m the one teaching.
The cookery class took place at a Riad in the Medina which was almost impossible to find. An hour and half late and after going round in several circles we finally arrived at this stunning Riad. It was like walking onto a set for a glossy interiors magazine. Anyway after a glass of freshly pressed orange juice (one of the best things about Marrakesh was the abundance of freshly pressed orange juice) we got down to some serious business by making some morrocan biscuits.
“Cornes de gazelle” translated “Gazelle’s horns” were on the menu. These biscuits are probably the most popular of all the morrocan biscuits. They are simple a biscuit which is filled with almond paste. The dominant flavours are orange flower water and almonds.
Fairly simple to do: a basic pastry dough (similar to a filo pastry) is made and blanched ground almonds are blended with sugar and a bit of butter to make an almond paste. The pastry is rolled out thinly and cut into squares. Then a sausage shaped bit of almond paste is placed into the middle and the pastry is folded over the top and pressed down to make a horn shape. A little egg is brushed on top and then they’re baked for about 10-15 minutes. There are some versions which are dusted with icing sugar but I prefer mine without. Unfortunately I lost my scribbled piece of paper where I noted my recipe but it’s similar to this one here.
The same mixture and pastry was used to make money bag shaped cookies. In addition to those were made some simple orange flower water cookies and chocolate cookies.
They had these great stamps which created a pattern after being stamped onto the biscuit.
Our teacher was lovely and very patient with all my questions, even put up with all my picture taking too. Speaking French was definetly an advantage.
Just a note: the biscuits keep for a good couple of weeks in an airtight container, that’s if you can stop yourself eating them all 🙂