Filo pillow pies stuffed with mascarpone and almond–orange praline

Filo pillow pies stuffed with mascarpone and almond–orange praline

8 pies
Matt Harvey

These little pastries are based on a popular Lebanese pastry called znoud el sitt (ladies’ elbows). The semolina filling can be made ahead of time but the mascarpone filling should be made on the day of serving.

Semolina custard filling


Quantity Ingredient
1 litre milk
1 tablespoon orange-blossom water
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
8 egg yolks
2 eggs
220g caster sugar
90g fine semolina
60g unsalted butter, softened

Mascarpone filling

Quantity Ingredient
200g mascarpone
2 eggs, separated
50g caster sugar
1/2-1 cup Toasted almond–orange praline ice cream
8 sheets filo pastry
200g unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. To make the semolina custard filling, put the milk, orange-blossom water, and citrus zests into a large saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Lower the heat and leave to cool a little.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the yolks and eggs, sugar and semolina and beat until smooth. Strain the hot milk onto the egg mixture, stirring continuously. Pour the custard back into the cleaned-out saucepan and cook over a low heat until it thickens. Add the butter and stir in thoroughly. Tip the mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish and cover with foil. Put the dish into a larger roasting tin and pour in enough boiling water to come half-way up the sides of the dish. Bake for 60–70 minutes, until the custard sets firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Store, covered, until ready to assemble.
  3. To make the mascarpone filling, put the mascarapone and egg yolks into an electric mixer and whisk until firm. Whip the egg whites with the sugar until they form firm peaks. Fold this meringue mixture into the mascarpone and chill until required.
  4. When ready to assemble the little pies, preheat the oven to 200°F and remove the 2 fillings from the fridge. Cut the custard into rectangles, about the size of a deck of cards.
  5. Working with 1 sheet of filo pastry at a time, lay it on a work surface and brush with melted butter. Scatter a little praline over one half of the pastry and fold the other half on top. Butter again, then cut the pastry into a diamond shape. Place a slice of custard in the centre of the diamond and dollop a spoonful of mascarpone on top. Fold the points in and over the filling to form an envelope. Butter well then turn and butter the top. Repeat the process with remaining sheets of filo until you have 8 little pies.
  6. Bake for 6–8 minutes until the pastries are golden. Serve them straight from the oven, either dusted with icing sugar or drizzled with caramel – perhaps flavoured with orange.
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