Sweet Btsteeya with Almonds

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

The word btsteeya needn’t necessarily refer to the famous Moroccan puce de résistance—a pigeon pie with almonds and an eggy sauce all wrapped in a flaky pastry pie and topped with sugar and almonds. It can also refer to the following simple, crackling, crunchy almond dessert, a specialty of Marrakech.

This is an easy dessert to make, as almost all of it can be prepared in advance: bake the pastry early in the day, then prepare the vanilla and rose-scented milk sauce a few hours before serving. At serving time, simply assemble the dish by placing some reheated sauce on individual plates and topping each with a crisp, almond-filled triangle.


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 2 tablespoons confectionerssugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 to 8 sheets of phyllo (about ¼ pound, plus extra in case of tearing, thawed overnight in the refrigerator if frozen
  • Vanilla and Rose-Scented Milk Sauce (recipe follows)


  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet. Add the almonds and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and let cool. Chop the almonds. Transfer them to a bowl and toss with the confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Set the stacked sheets of phyllo dough on a work surface. Using a 10-inch plate as a template, cut out 6 to 8 rounds. Brush 1 phyllo round with melted butter, fold it in half, and brush it again. Fold it in half again, forming a triangle. Sprinkle 1 rounded tablespoon of the almonds on half the phyllo triangle and fold again, covering the almonds. Brush the triangle with butter and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining phyllo rounds and butter, using half the almond mixture.
  3. Bake the bisteeya triangles for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Immediately sprinkle each with a scant tablespoon of the remaining almond mixture. Let cool.
  4. To serve, spoon the milk sauce into shallow bowls and top with the baked phyllo.