Recipe: Baklava Cigars wIth Citrus and Spices

Ilse van der Merwe, author of the new cookbook Cape Mediterranean, was inspired by traditional sweet Turkish treats for this baklava cigars recipe.

Tasha Seccombe

Baklava Cigars Cape Mediterranean | House and Leisure

'My friend, Maaika Kruger, lives in Turkey and recently brought me a tub full of Turkish pastries. And do those Turks know their sweets!' writes Ilse van der Merwe in her new cookbook Cape Mediterranean: The Way We Love To Eat. 'They were some of the best little sweet treats I’ve ever had, most of them nut-based and made with flaky filo pastry.

'These luxurious baklava cigars are filled with a mixed nut and citrus paste, and were inspired by the sweet Turkish treasure trove from Maaika. They are such a stunning end to a Mediterranean lunch or dinner, served with coffee or a good brandy. They also make a good addition to a tea-table spread.' 

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Baklava Cigars With Citrus and Spices

For the Syrup


  • 400g white sugar
  • 500ml water
  • 30ml honey
  • 2 whole cloves, peeled
  • Rind of ½ lemon

For the Baklava Cigars


  • 100g raw almonds
  • 100g walnuts, finely grated
  • rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • rind of 1 orange, finely grated
  • 5ml ground cinnamon
  • 60ml icing sugar
  • 1ml salt
  • 1 extra-large egg white
  • 2.5ml almond essence
  • 6 sheets filo pastry
  • About 80ml canola oil
  • 30ml whole pistachios, shelled and finely chopped (optional)

For the syrup, bring all the ingredients to a boil in a small pot, then cook rapidly for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

For the baklava cigars, place the almonds and walnuts in a food processor and process until finely chopped (don’t take it too far, as you don’t want to make a nut butter). Add the grated citrus rind, cinnamon, icing sugar, salt and egg white, and process to a paste. Divide into six parts and roll out into long snakes about 1.5cm thick and 21cm long.

Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Working with one sheet of filo (21x34 cm) at a time on a large working surface, brush with oil all over, then place a rolled-out nut shape on one end. Roll it up neatly, then cut each into equal parts of about 7cm each. Arrange tightly in a baking tray sprayed with non-stick spray and bake for 18–20 minutes or until golden brown.

While the baklava cigars are baking, gently reheat the syrup. Remove the baklava cigars from the oven and pour the hot syrup over them. Leave to cool in the tray. When cool, remove from the syrup, scatter with some finely chopped pistachios and serve.

Makes 18
Buy your copy of Cape Mediterranean: The Way We Love To Eat by Ilse van der Merwe here.
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