Friday, May 24, 2013
Almond and pistachio fingers
Branching out and making new sweets and desserts is somewhat of a rarity in my usual cooking routine. I'm not inclined to eat sugary food often and the guys always request their favourites (rum balls and choc chip cookies) so I always enjoy delving into something different when we have guests over. Last week I borrowed a few North African cookbooks from my local library to seek out recipes. There were many I was keen on trying but once I spotted some fancy looking Tunisian almond fingers my mind was made up.
The filling consisted of almonds, pistachios, sugar, cinnamon and rosewater which was a breeze to put together. The part that wasn't as straight forward was cutting sheets of filo, brushing them with melted margarine and rolling each one up with my clumsy fingers. There may have been a small sigh of relief after I had constructed about 40 little pastries and they were ready to go in the oven.
I was very pleased with how they turned out, the flavours of the cinnamon and rosewater worked together wonderfully without being too overwhelming. Everyone else enjoyed them too so it was well worth the effort. Surprisingly the pastry has retained it's crispiness throughout the week and the few remaining ones that have been kept at room temperature in an airtight container are just as lovely as on the day they were baked.
Almond and pistachio fingers (Adapted from Illustrated Food and Cooking of Africa and The Middle East)
200g almond meal
50g shelled pistachios
50g raw sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon rosewater
10 – 12 sheets filo pastry
115g dairy free margarine, melted
Icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 160C.
Process the pistachios in a coffee/spice grinder or food processor until they are broken down into a medium-fine powder. Place the almond meal, pistachios, sugar, cinnamon and rosewater in a bowl and stir well until thoroughly combined.
Lay the sheets of filo on your bench covered with a damp tea towel to stop them drying out. Work with one sheet of pastry at a time. Cut the sheet into 4 even rectangular pieces, brush each one with melted dairy free margarine and place a heaped teaspoon of the mixture on the end of each piece of pastry. Roll each piece of pastry into a finger shape, folding in the sides as your go to ensure the filling is enclosed completely.
Place the rolled up pastries on a tray lined with baking paper and brush the tops with the remaining dairy free margarine. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow them to cool down then dust lightly with icing sugar.
Store at room temperature in a sealed container, the pastry has stayed nice and crispy on the few remaining ones five days later.