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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
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