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Rita’s Baklava Cigars

Another yummy recipe from the cook book - Two Lands of Milk and Honey

This is one of the most popular baking treats that I make for customers and with my students - again, a really easy recipe to make.

The origins of this dish are Greek or Turkish - depends on who you ask! Be careful not to get dragged into an argument over this, as wars started over less important subjects...

A big tip about the Filo pastry - never ever freeze it! It becomes very brittle and hard to use once defrosted. Filo pastry usually has a long shelf-life, so there is no need to freeze it. You can however freeze the baklava before baking, and then take it out of the freezer into the baking tray, and bake just before serving to your friends and family.

Makes: about 15 cigars

Difficulty: easy


Filo pastry - 5 Sheets Walnuts - 30g finely chopped Pistachio nuts - 45g Almonds - 50g finely chopped Caster sugar - 2 tablespoons Cinnamon - ½ teaspoon Ground cloves - ¼ teaspoon Unsalted butter - 100g melted

For the sprinkle

Pistachio nuts - ½ tablespoon Cinnamon - 2 teaspoons

For the syrup

Lemon juice - ½ lemon Caster sugar - ½ cup Water - ½ cup Cinnamon stick - 1 Clove sticks - 2 Orange blossom water / rose water - 2.5ml (½ teaspoon)

Notice: Filo pastry can get dry very quickly please cover with a wet towel or cloth when you are not using it.


Heat the oven to a high heat (200 cº)

Roll the cigars:

Mix the walnuts, almonds, pistachio nuts, sugar and spices On the working bench place one filo sheet and cut to 3 wide stripes. Brush with the melted butter Place a full teaspoon of the nut mix filling at the end of each stripe, 3-4 cm from the edge Roll from the edge closest to the filling and brush with melted butter, keep rolling to the center, into a tight cigar Repeat steps 3-5 with the rest of the pastry and filling Place the cigars in an oiled baking dish in one layer, and brush with the rest of the butter Bake for 12 minutes until the cigars are golden colour Cool down in the baking dish

In the meantime prepare the syrup:

With a zester or a peeler, zest the skin of the lemon. Juice the lemon and place in a medium pot, with sugar and water, and mix without bringing to the boil until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon zest and spices, and keep cooking without mixing, for 2 minutes. Cool down for 10 min and sieve.

To finish: Place the cigars in a serving dish in one layer and pour the warm syrup on the cigars. Cool down to room temperature Sprinkle the almonds, chopped walnuts and cinnamon

*Chef’s Tip: Never pour hot syrup on top of hot baklava, as it will cook the pastry. You can either prepare the syrup ahead of time and cool it down, then pour over the hot Baklava, or cool the Baklava first and then pour the hot syrup

Baklava Cigars

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