Nofar Zohar's Sweet Almond Cigars. Photo courtesy of Nofar Zohar
Nofar Zohar's Sweet Almond Cigars. Photo courtesy of Nofar Zohar
Recipe

Grandma Hannah’s Cigars

Grandmother Hannah, my father's mother, passed away over 20 years ago, but the neighbors in Poriya still talk about her Mimuna celebrations

Grandma Hannah used to walk(!) from Poriya to Yavne’el (around 7 kilometers each way), where she would get fresh almonds, and walk all the way back with full sacks on her shoulders. At home she washed, soaked, dried and peeled the almonds and ground them by hand in a meat grinder until her hands were covered with blisters. She rolled the almond filling into thin sheets of dough, baked and served cigars with a smile that did not betray the hard work that was required to create this perfect bite.

Ingredients for Almond Cigars

For the filling:

  • 7 oz (200 grams) almond flour (2 cups)
  • 7 oz (200 grams) Sugar (1 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup orgeat syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Orange Blossom Water
  • 3 drops almond extract bitter

For the cigars:

  • 1 package phyllo dough sheets (I prefer to use the dough from the Shahaf company)
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) butter melted (or vegan butter)
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sunflower oil
  • Sugar to sprinkle on the dough

For the syrup:

  • 2 cups (400 grams) Sugar
  • 2 cups (480 grams) water
  • lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Orange Blossom Water (optional)

Instructions

Prepare the filling:

  • 1. Process all the filling ingredients in a food processor, until you get a paste texture that is easy to pipe. Transfer the stuffing to a piping bag with a 3/4" (2 cm) diameter opening.

Assemble and bake:

  • 2. Heat the oven to 375F (190C) degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • 3. Mix the butter (or melted vegan butter) in a bowl with the oil until uniform.

  • 4. Lay a sheet of phyllo on a work surface and brush it with the oil/butter mixture. Place another sheet on top of it and brush that too. Cut the two layers of dough into 9 equal squares using a pizza roller.

  • 5. Pipe a finger-diameter strip of the filling along the side of the square closest to you. Roll the dough away from you, to form a tight cigar.

  • 6. Shape and fill all the sheets of dough in the same way and arrange on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the cigars with the butter/oil mixture and sprinkle a little sugar on top.

  • 7. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.

Meanwhile, prepare the syrup:

  • 8. Bring all the syrup ingredients together to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes, until thickened.  

  • 9. Place the hot cigars on a wire rack as soon as they come out of the oven and brush them generously with the hot syrup.

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For more Mimouna recipes from Nofar Zohar

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