Almond and rosewater cigars

Almond and rosewater cigars

By
From
Cooking from the Heart
Makes
30
Photographer
Mark Roper

Don’t be tempted to use commercial ground almonds — they are far too clumpy. Pouring the hot syrup over the cigars just after they’re cooked will help them stay crisp. they can be kept covered in the fridge for several days, but they will be less crispy. For a proper dessert, serve with rose and cardamom ice cream, or a rose-scented whipped cream with crystallised rose petals scattered over.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons rosewater
6 sheets filo pastry
90g unsalted butter, melted
1 litre sunflower oil, for deep-frying

Sugar syrup

Quantity Ingredient
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
2 tablespoons rosewater
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed, (optional)

Method

  1. To make the syrup, gently heat the sugar and 300 ml water in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and boil, without stirring, until the mixture is thick and syrupy. Remove from the heat, add the rosewater and cardamom pods, if using, and set aside. Keep warm.
  2. Grind the almonds in a food processor, into a blend of fine and coarser grits. Tip them into a bowl and add the sugar and rosewater, bringing the mixture together with your hand so it holds into a rough paste. Roll out 30 thin sausage shapes from the mixture, bringing your fingers into the palm of your hand over and over until the mixture holds together well. Set aside.
  3. Unroll the filo so the long side is nearest you. Cut the sheets across their width into strips 8–10 cm wide, then pile them on top of each other. Cover them with a damp tea towel so they don’t dry out. Take out one strip at a time and brush with melted butter, leaving a 1 cm edge on both sides. Place an almond sausage at one end of the pastry strip, then roll tightly into a ‘cigar’, making sure the end is well sealed, and sticking it down if necessary with a little more melted butter or drop of water.
  4. Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat. Deep-fry the cigars for about 1 minute, or until golden, turning them over with two forks to ensure they are evenly cooked. (Keep an eye on the oil to make sure it doesn’t get too hot.)
  5. Drain the cigars on paper towels, then transfer to a festive plate, piling one row on top of another, each row at right angles to the row below, with fewer and fewer cigars on each level — about seven levels high. This is the precarious and entirely traditional way of serving these and I wouldn’t dream of doing it any other way.
  6. Pour the hot sugar syrup over them while they are still hot and carry carefully to the table.
Tags:
Jewish
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