Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pistachio Almond Cigars

I was asked to bring a dessert to a dinner party.  I am over dessert.  I used to eat a lot of sweets, but now I really enjoy eating my dinner with multiple dishes or an appetizer with dinner.  I very rarely eat something for dessert and don't bake sweets very often.  Part of that is because my husband doesn't eat much sweets either and therefore there is always too much food.  Of course our co-workers never have a problem with accepting and eating up those sweet leftovers.  At any rate, I needed to find a dessert that would go with shasuska, so I opened up my middle eastern cookbooks...and I found this recipe for Pistachio Almond Cigars.  It satisfied my desire to have something at least based on healthier choices (nuts), but of course it still is not good for you since it is fried.  Sometimes you need to live a little and enjoy it.

This recipe is based off the Sweet filo cigar recipe in Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi.  If you have not checked out their Ottolenghi, Plenty or Jerusalem cookbooks, you should.  One day I will eat in their restaurant...but that will have to wait until another trip.
 Pistachio and Almond Cigars
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pistachios, unsalted
6 tablespoons water
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1 large organic egg, separated
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (unwaxed)
filo pastry, cut into 6 inch squares or rectangles
safflower oil for frying
1/2 cup honey
extra nuts for garnish (sprinkled on top)

Finely chop the almonds and pistachios....I used a mortar and pestle, but you can use a small electric chopper for a finer (and quicker) crumb.  Pour nuts into a pan with 5 tablespoons water and vanilla sugar.  Cook over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Once a bit cool (so as not to cook the egg), add the egg yolk and lemon zest.  Stir.

Assemble: Take your filo squares and spread about a tablespoon in a strip closest to you.  Then roll together after folding in the sides.  Seal with a little of the egg white (which you should lightly beat before applying).  Continue this until all of your rolls have been made.  Heat oil in a pan and fry the cigars over medium-heat heat.  Be careful not to have too high heat or you will burn your cigars.  Fry quickly until each side is golden; remove from oil to a plate covered with paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Once cool, place on a platter.  Drizzle with honey and extra nuts.  (They will have better flavor if you lightly toast them before sprinkling on top.  Best eaten the same day.  Makes about 15 cigars depending on how full they are filled.

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