These nut pastries make a great snack with a cup of strong coffee, mint tea, or alongside a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Variations of this sort of pastry can be found all around the Mediterranean in any region where nuts are cultivated, from the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Malta, to Turkey, Lebanon, and all the way to Morocco.
– For the pastry.
– 3 cups all-purpose flour.
– 6–8 tbsp lard or unsalted butter.
– 3¼ cup sugar.
– 2 eggs.
– 2–4 tbsp milk.
– For the filling.
– 12oz (350g) assorted shelled nuts, such as fresh walnuts, almonds, and pine nuts.
– ½ cup honey.
– 2 tbsp all-purpose flour.
– grated zest of 1 orange.
– 1 tsp almond extract.
– confectioners’ (powdered) sugar for dusting.
Step 2: 2Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Place the nuts on a baking sheet, and roast for 3–5 minutes until golden brown all over, shaking halfway through to make sure they do not burn. Remove the nuts from the oven, and increase the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C).
Step 3: 3In a small saucepan, combine the honey with ¼ cup water. Bring the liquid to a boil. Stir in the 2 tbsp flour, little by little, until you have a smooth paste. Add the orange zest and almond extract. Coarsely chop the toasted nuts and stir them in. Remove from the heat, and let cool completely.
Step 4: 4To make the pastries, divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll out one piece to form a rectangle approximately 2 x 4in (5 x 10cm) and ¼in (½cm) thick. Spoon half the nut mixture onto the long side of the pastry rectangles, and roll the pastry over a couple of times to make a long nut swirl. Repeat with the second half of the pastry. Use the remaining lard to grease a length of baking parchment as long as the pastry rolls. Place the baking parchment on a baking sheet, then place the rolls onto the baking parchment. Cut the rolls into small squares of roughly ¾in (2cm)—the shapes can be a little irregular. Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool. Dust the finished pastries with confectioners’ sugar and serve.