Nicky, Digital Researcher, Africa Analyst
Kaab el ghazal - North African cinnamon almond filled pastry
Updated: Apr 18, 2021
Literally meaning gazelle ankles/horns in English, Kaab el ghazal, are crescent-shaped cookies popular throughout the North African countries of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
This dessert consists of a sweet cinnamon-flavored almond filling wrapped in a thin pastry shell. Both the filling and the pastry dough are flavored with orange blossom water.
The almond paste filling is firmly wrapped in dough, shaped into a crescent and baked in the oven until brown
Prep time: 30 minutes (overnight prep)
Cook time: 10 minutes
2¼ cups flour
4 tablespoons butter , melted
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
2 teaspoons liquid honey
1 pinch salt
2 teaspoons orange blossom water
4 cups whole almonds , blanched and peeled
1½ cups sugar
½ cup orange blossom water
6 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon mastic (Arabic gum), ground
¼ cup sunflower oil
In a large dish, pour the flour, salt, melted butter, oil, honey and egg. Mix all ingredients and slowly add enough water to make a smooth dough.
Knead vigorously for 10 minutes until it becomes elastic and not sticky. Cover with a clean cloth and let stand while preparing the marzipan.
Mix the blanched and peeled almonds with the sugar and grind them ideally with a meat grinder (or food processor) to make marzipan.
Stir in the orange blossom water, butter and mastic. Knead the marzipan and make 2-inch (5cm) long and 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick strands
Divide the dough into 6 small balls.
Place a ball on an oiled work surface and, using a very smooth and oiled pastry roll (without imperfection), roll the dough thinly.
Place a strand of marzipan in the center of the pastry dough and fold it. Shape the dough in the shape of a crescent by firmly pressing with your fingers to make the dough adhere to almond paste.
Seal the edges by pressing strongly and cut the crescent with a serrated wheel leaving about a ⅛ inch (3 mm) edge.
Repeat this process until you run out of dough and marzipan.
Place the cornes de gazelle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them rest uncovered at room temperature for 15 hours, until they dry. (overnight prep)
Using a thin needle, poke each corne de gazelle 3 times on top, spacing the holes equally.
Preheat the oven to 340 F (170˚C).
Lightly brush oil on each corne de gazelle.
Bake for 7 to 9 minutes until obtaining a light beige color, making sure that they do not turn brown.
It is very important to closely monitor the baking so that the cornes de gazelle are very light.
Let them cool completely on a wire rack before placing them in a sealed metal box to keep them in a cool place.