Paper thin Moroccan warqa, used for bastilla and other pastries, is easy once you get the feel of it. The sheets are thinner than phyllo dough, but make a good substitute for those instances when you feel like impressing your dinner guests. “Well, obviously I make my own pastry…”
But the biggest reason is it’s fun to do. Provided you have a large, flat pan to paint the batter onto, the only thing you need is a broad brush. A new nylon or polyester paint brush from the hardware store will work just fine. Start by assembling your ingredients. Whisking the dry ingredients together…
…then the wet ingredients…
…and combine them, whisking thoroughly.
The batter should be extremely thin and soupy. When in doubt, add a little more water.
Now then, pour a few inches of water into a Dutch oven or other broad pot. Bring it to a boil.
Place over it a larger, flat, nonstick pan. This 11″ sauté pan is perfect for the job. a griddle pan is also a great solution. But the real question is: why cook this way? The answer is because low heat gelatinizes the starch in the batter (cooks it) without drying it out, which would make it brittle. These sheets need to be flexible if they’re going to be of any use. An electric griddle set to very low heat would probably also work for this.
So then, when the pan has heated, dip the brush in the batter and apply it using long, curving strokes. Brush lightly so as not to peel away any batter than might cook on contact. On which note, resist the urge to lubricate the pan. That will cause the cooked batter to clump up and flake off.
As the batter cooks, very gently dab/brush extra batter onto any bare spots.
When the sheet looks about like this and is crispy at the edges, it’s ready to pick up. Loosen the edge with a spatula…
…and just lift it off. The rough edges are unavoidable. You can trim them off, but as they are, they broadcast to the world that you are a skilled and worldly epicure. Leave them.
Place the sheet on your stack, lightly painting it with vegetable oil. Wipe any flecks of batter out of the pan with a paper towel and repeat!
When the batter is all used up (you’ll have about 18 sheets) wrap them up in plastic wrap to keep them from drying.
Use them immediately or store them in the fridge if you like for up to five days.