Jews around the diaspora always let their imagination soar when it came to Purim revenge-food. Greek and Turkish Jews adapted the Middle Eastern sweet phyllo “cigars” and named them after Haman’s fingers. In this sweet treat, phyllo dough is filled with chopped almonds and warm spices like cinnamon, then rolled into cigar shapes, brushed with butter or margarine, and baked until golden and crisp.
- 12 phyllo dough sheets, thawed overnight in the fridge
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cups blanched almonds
- 2 cups walnuts
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp rose water (optional)
- 6-8 Tbsp melted butter
- Take phyllo out the fridge 2 hours before you start cooking.
- Put sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Transfer syrup to a measuring cup and let it cool down in the fridge for about 20 minutes. It can still be warm when you use it, just not boiling hot.
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Put almonds and walnuts in a food processor and ground until fine (but don’t let it become a paste.) Take 2 tablespoons of the ground nuts and keep in a small bowl for later.
- Add 1 cup of the sugar syrup to the food processor (keep the rest for later) and mix again. Add orange zest, eggs and rose water and mix briefly, then transfer to a medium bowl.
- Cut each phyllo dough sheet into 2 rectangles of about 7 inch by 8 inch. Cover phyllo with a towel.
- Put the first phyllo sheet on a working surface, narrow side towards you, and brush it lightly with the melted butter, almost all the way up. Spread a start tablespoon of the nut filling along the edge closest to you, leaving ½ inch clear on the sides. Fold the sides on the filling then start rolling the pastry from the filling side to create a cigar. Transfer to the baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the phyllo. Keep the cigars on the baking sheet an inch apart.
- Brush each cigar with butter and then generously brush with the sugar syrup.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden and crispy. Transfer to a cooling rack. Keep in a sealed container at room temperature up to 4 days.