Neulas Encanonadas (Brick Pastry Rolls with Almonds and Honey)

Hélène Jawhara Piñer
Recipe by
Hélène Jawhara Piñer

In Le Roman d'Esther, written in the 14th century by Crescas du Caylar, there is a mention of a banquet held by King Ahasuerus in honor of the third year of his reign. Crescas mentions a dish called neulas encanonadas: a pastry confection in the shape of cigars. Another reference to the dish comes from the Spanish city of Almazan, where conversos were reported to the Inquisition tribunal for preparing rollillos (rolls) during Semana Santa, a feast that coincided with Passover.

2 cups (230 g) ground almonds
1⁄2 cup (110 g) sugar
1⁄8 tsp. bitter almond essence
1⁄4 tsp. orange blossom water
1 egg
15 brick pastry sheets (round)
1 cup (340 g) honey
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup (35g to 70g) toasted sesame seeds
neutral oil for frying
  • In a bowl, combine the ground almonds, sugar, bitter almond essence, orange blossom water, and egg. Chill for 15 minutes.
  • Take the brick pastry sheets and cut them in half. Place one half so that the curved side is to the left.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Pour the honey in another saucepan and heat it over low heat (it must never boil).
  • Prepare a small plate with sesame seeds on it.
  • Take the almond mix out of the refrigerator. Take the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Then, shape it into a log.
  • Place it a finger's width away from the edge of the pastry and start rolling the pastry sheet tightly.
  • Fold the two edges of the sheet inward and continue rolling to the end, keeping the edges in. Do the same for all the pastry sheets until you run out of almond mixture.
  • Fry the rolls in the oil for about 3 minutes, turning them once.
  • Take each roll out of the oil and soak it in the hot honey for 3 minutes.
  • Take the roll out of the honey and coat with sesame seeds on all sides. Place the rolls on a tray and serve.