For Dessert Moroccan Almond Cigars a Sweet Treat
Moroccan Almond Cigars or Cigares Marocains aux Amandes (in French) are crunchy, sticky, sweet and delicious! We made them at a recent Pitcher & Powell cooking and yoga adventure in Marrakech. We dedicated an entire class to making Moroccan desserts, and it was like a Christmas cookie exchange in North Africa. Even the self-professed “non-bakers” got into the sticky fun.
Traditional Moroccan pastries are based on a few key ingredients: nuts, citrus zest, dried fruits, sesame seeds, scented waters such as orange blossom or rose blossom and honey syrup. Here is my video to demonstrate the technique:
Moroccan Almond Cigars
- 20 Phyllo sheets also known as brick pastry
- 3 cups (680g) Ground Almonds or Almond Flour
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (113g) Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 cup (118ml) orange blossom water for almond paste
- 1 Egg white
- 1 Orange for the zest
- 8 oz (236ml) Honey warmed in a pan to dip fried cigars
- 4 oz (118ml) Water
- 2 tbsp orange blossom water for honey syrup
- 3 tbsp Toasted Sesame Seed to garnish
- 6 oz (177ml) melted butter for almond paste and phyllo
- vegetable oil (Sunflower or Canola) for frying
Make the Almond Paste:
- In a large bowl, make the almond paste by mixing together the ground almonds, 1/3 of the melted butter, sugar, cinnamon and orange zest.
- Add the orange blossom water gradually until the mixture becomes soft.
- Lay flat a sheet of phyllo (brick), cut into 3 ribbons of 3 inches (7.6 cm) x 14 inches (35 cm).
- Place a small amount of the almond mixture on one side of the sheet.
- Before rolling, brush the middle of the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Brush the other sides with egg white.
- Fold the sides of the sheet over the ground almond mixture and roll very tightly into a cigar shape; press firmly with the seam down.
Finish the Almond Cigars:
- Heat the sunflower or vegetable oil in a large pan.
- When the oil is hot, fry the cigars for about 1.5 minutes on each side or until they become golden brown in colour.
- Transfer the cigars to a pan of warm honey syrup (2 parts honey (8oz)/one part water (4 oz) and 2 tablespoons of Orange Blossom water) and spoon over each cigar.
- Remove the cigars from the pan and sprinkle on the top and sides with toasted sesame seeds.
- Let the cigars cool before serving.
Glimpses of Marrakesh: