Algerian Harrissa - Not a Chilli Sauce but a Sweet!


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“Quite a misleading name and I've never been able to get to the bottom of it.... However, these harrissa are very pretty little Algerian helouwa (sweets). I always include these on my trays of Eid helouwa that I give to friends and family as they are so nice to look at (and not bad tasting too). I also make these using a mix of 100g ground almonds with 250g desiccated coconut (ground up). These freeze well so you can whip a few out whenever you need them. Oh and the best thing? You don't even need to cook them!”
40 flower harrissa

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 4 cups ground almonds
  • 1 14 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter or 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 12 teaspoon orange blossom water (mazhar)
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour, for dusting
  • food coloring, of choice
  • For Decoration
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, for rolling
  • glace cherries (silver balls) or angelica (silver balls) or dragees (silver balls)


  1. Place the almonds, sugar orange blossom water & margarine in a food processor & mix to form a firm paste.
  2. Split paste into 3 equal parts. Leave one natural and mix colouring into the other 2. Dust surfaces with cornflour. Roll paste into 3 long sausages then plait together. If using coconut, you'll not be able to plait them so lay them next to each other, then gently push them together so they stick to each other.
  3. Dust hands with a little cornflour and form the paste into as many little balls as you can get ( a little larger than a Malteser). Lightly press the top of each ball into s little sugar.
  4. With a matchstick or similar, make a indentation in the middle of the ball. Take a screw top from a bottle (coke etc) and gently press the rim of the top, starting from the middle and rolling the top out so that you get a little arc.
  5. Repeat this until you have covered the ball - usually 6 or so top marks. You should have what looks like a flower.
  6. Place a silver ball, piece of cherry or angelica etc into the centre of the flower. Place the harrissa into tiny sweet cases to serve.
  7. As an alternative. Instead of plaiting the paste, roll out and layer then cut into lozenge/diamond shapes.

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