August 19, 2010
One of the reasons I love Baklava is because it is loaded with nuts, has my favorite rose syrup all over it and uses the delicate phyllo dough!
Working with Phyllo sheets are tricky. You need to thaw them out to the right temperature so they are not too dry from the cold that they break or they are too thawed out that they stick together. One good tip is to use a damp kitchen cloth and keep the sheets covered until you are ready to work with them. Keep them covered even if it is only for a couple of seconds. That way they will stay soft and easy to work with.
It is not a pretty sight to have brittle phyllo dough all over your kitchen counter. Been there, done that!
Psst... I have even thrown the tiny broken pieces of the phyllo burying them along with the filling and rolled it all up in the hope that no one would ever find out! :)
This quick and individual portions of baklava are perfect for parties and for dunking in some sinful rich silky chocolate sauce, or caramel, or oh! oh! how about some dulce de leche?
Okay, allright! Let me stop right there because we did neither... no party, or dunking nothing in anything. We just enjoyed it way the simple way. The little sugar syrup on top was the right amount of sweetness especially if you are watching what you are eating. There is no need to let them soak in syrup like the regular Baklava. Sorry about being a little devil tempting you right there with the dunking part. Er.. remember?... We try to cook healthy here.
Phyllo sheets - 2 sheets for each cigar (buy a box, and use as many as you need)
Melted butter - 3 tbsp
Rose essence - 1/2 tsp
Dates - 1/2 cup
Roasted almonds - 1/2 cup
Roasted walnuts - 1/2 cup
Toasted Hazelnuts - 1/2 cup
Roasted Sunflower seeds - 1/4 cup
Raisins - 1/2 cup
Chocolate chips - 1/2 cup (optional)
Powdered sugar - 1/4 cup
Water - 1/2 tsp
Take out phyllo sheets from the freezer, open and cover with a damp cloth and set aside.
In a food processor pulse the nuts and seeds till they are coarse bits. Transfer onto a clean dry bowl.
Then blend the raisins and dates (chop them roughly before you put them into the food processor). Add the nuts, chocolate chips. Pulse only till combined. The whole mixture should still be coarse. You should be able to pinch out a lemon sized ball and roll it without sticking. It can definitely be on the drier side too. If it is powdery, that is okay too.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Now slowly separate out one phyllo sheet, and place on a working surface. Brush ever so slightly with melted butter and place another sheet over it and brush again with butter. Now place the filling in one corner of the sheet. Filling should be about 3" long and 1" thick.
Roll the sheet like you would a burrito. Seal the edges with a drop of melted butter.
Roll all the cigars the same way until you have exhausted all the filling. Brush all the cigars with a light touch of melted butter.
Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake till the cigars are golden brown in color.
Allow to cool completely. Meanwhile mix the powdered sugar and rose essence with a 1/2 tsp of water and pour over the cooled baklava cigars. This way it is not soaking wet in sugar syrup.
Enjoy when the sugar has slightly set. Tastes even better the next day!
Happy baking! :)