Moroccan cigars

Moroccan cigars

Mark Hix On Baking
Jason Lowe

I’ve been making these tasty, neat little snacks for years now and serving them as appetisers or canapés with drinks. My chefs used to go nuts when a party ordered these as they take some time and patience to make, though they are well worth the effort. Traditionally warka pastry would be used for this dish, but filo pastry works just as well.


Quantity Ingredient
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil, or corn oil
2 medium shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
150g minced lamb
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon pine nuts, lightly toasted
150-200g ready-made warka or filo pastry
50-60g butter, melted
caster sugar, for dusting
150ml beef stock
or 150ml lamb stock
1 tbsp raisins, soaked in hot water for an hour


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the shallots, garlic and lamb on a high heat for 3–4 minutes, seasoning as it is cooking, until the meat starts to colour. Add the cinnamon and cumin and continue cooking for a minute. Add the stock and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the liquid has almost evaporated. Drain and roughly chop the raisins, add to the lamb with the pine nuts and continue simmering for a few minutes until the liquid has completely evaporated. Remove from the heat, season and leave to cool.
  3. Cut the pastry into 6 x 8 cm strips. Taking one strip, place a heaped teaspoon of the mix along the shorter edge nearest you. Brush the rest of the pastry lightly with butter and roll into a cigar shape as tightly as possible. Repeat with the remaining pastry strips, ensuring you cover the pastry you are not rolling with a damp cloth to prevent it drying up. Place the rolls on a lightly buttered baking tray a couple of centimetres apart and brush with butter.
  4. Bake the cigars for about 8–10 minutes until golden and crisp. Dust with a little cinnamon and caster sugar and serve.
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