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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:

Dessert Moroccan Almond Cigars

Moroccan Almond Cigars

These pastries can be made a day in advance as they are a bit time-consuming. If you get in the groove of making the almond paste, rolling the cigars, frying and dipping in honey – you will be done before you know it.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine North African
Servings 40 pieces

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

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.

Notes

Equipment required: Frying pans, tongs, spatula, pastry brush, a microplane for zesting the orange
Options:
Use 1½ cup of almond flour and 1 ½ cups of hazelnut flour for a nuttier taste (nut paste will be brown instead of a very light brown if you use only almond flour).
For a different shape, fold the phyllo dough in a triangular shape (called a briwat or briouat).
For an alternative flavour profile, use rose water instead of orange blossom water.
Keyword Almonds, Dessert, Phyllo
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Glimpses of Marrakesh:

Jardin Majorelle Culinary Exploration Marrakesh Pitcher and Powell

Marrakesh Local Food Market

Marrakesh Olive Vendor Culinary Exploration Pitcher and Powell Adventures

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Tasha Powell

Tasha Powell

Tasha Powell is a food stylist and writer who specializes in working with celebrity chefs and leaders in the hospitality industry. She cooks and styles for monographs, cookbooks and Satellite Media Tours, working between North America and Europe. Take a look at her mouthwatering photos on Cooking with a French Twist. Since July 2020, she has offered themed Zoom cooking classes influenced by her travels in France and Morocco. Here are a few:

• Fusion Vegetarian Menu: Cheese Soufflé, Grilled Vegetable Kabobs, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Lime Crème Fraiche & Floating Islands
• Fall in Provence: Carrot Soup, Seared Duck Breast and Chocolate & Pear Tarte
• 3-Course Gluten-Free Menu: Panisse, Grilled Shrimp & Chocolate Towers with Michelin Star plating techniques
• Food Styling Tips: Apéro Dînatoire, presentation & plating
• 4-Course Gluten-Free Menu: Cauliflower Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce, Zucchini Rollups, Roasted Leek Salad & Chocolate Lava Cakes, Michelin Star plating techniques
• Just Stuffed! Stuffed Aubergines, Tomatoes & Zucchini
• Provençal Cuisine: Baked Ratatouille Tian & Tarte du Soleil
• Add Sparkle, Shimmer, Silver and Gold to Your Culinary Presentations! By Lynn Neuberg of Easy Leaf Products and Chef Tasha Powell

Class listings can be found at Chef Tasha Events

Tasha also arranges culinary tours with Barbara Pitcher in Provence, France, in Marrakech, Morocco, in Sicily, Italy and in Parry Sound, Canada under Pitcher and Powell Cuisine and Culture.

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