I sometimes forget that I wanted this to be a food blog. It’s so easy to forget to cook for yourself on the road and I often find myself turning back to unhealthy habits but it’s so hard to say no to all the amazing food that the world has to offer. When I travel I rarely say no to anything. If it’s a local specialty, I want it. If it’s sweet I want it. So when it came time to curb my cravings for all the sweets in Turkey I found it extremely difficult. Pastries here are not only delicious but also so sugary sweet and worth every single calorie.
If I had any chance at all of surviving any kind of baklava craving I had to lighten it up. Not to mention making a tray of baklava for one or maybe two simply isn’t an option, so I wanted to come up with a quick and easy way to whip some up when needed. While looking through some notes on Turkish mezze it hit me, why not turn baklava into a phyllo cigar instead of a whole tray and voila, sugar free and vegan baklava cigars were born!
Refined Sugar and Dairy Free Baklava Cigars
Cook time 1 hour Makes 24 cigars
250 grams (2 cups) walnuts or pistachios (or a mix of both)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
125g (1/4 cup) coconut oil
125g (1/4 cup) olive oil
125g (1/4 cup) honey
1/2 package phyllo pastry sheets
250 ml (1 cup) honey
175 ml (¾ cup) water
½ teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cinnamon stick
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
a few drops of rose
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F
- Combine ingredients for honey syrup in a saucepan and cook until it is a thick syrup. Set aside until cool
- Combine olive oil and coconut oil in a small bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Or heat gently in a small saucepan on the stove.
- Combine walnuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Stir well to make sure all the spices are evenly distributed. Grind finely in a food processor
- Set aside half of the coconut oil/olive oil mix. Mix the other half with the 125g (1/4 cup honey)
- Brush a 9×9 inch or 2 loaf pans with coconut olive oil
- Open the phyllo pastry and lay flat on a damp kitchen towel and top with another damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out. Every time you take a sheet, cover it back up with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.
- Take one sheet of phyllo and with the short end of the rectangle facing you. Cut the pastry in half along the wide part so you have two long pieces of phyllo
- Brush both pieces lightly with coconut olive oil
- Combine nuts with the coconut olive oil honey mixture that you set aside and mix well.
- Place about 2 tablespoons full of the nut mixture onto the bottom short edge of the phyllo dough and roll up. Seal the roll with a little more coconut olive oil. Place into your prepared greased dish. Repeat with all the remaining sheets of phyllo (or until your mixture runs out.
- Once all your cigars are snug in the baking dish, take a sharp knife and cut in half. If you want smaller pieces, cut into fours.
- Bake for 25 minutes, rotating half way through or until cigars are golden brown
- As soon as the cigars are golden brown ladle them with the cold honey syrup. Top with chopped nuts or edible rose petals
- Let the honey soak in and let cool
- Freeze what you don’t eat. You can either bring to room temperature or bake at 325ºF for about 10 minutes
If you make this recipe be sure to tag your photo #figsandmaple