Spicy Moroccan Cigars

This is very famous. We have it in Israel, too, but it's a Morrocan original!


Version 1

  • 1/2 pound butter, cut into bits and clarified
  • 14 sheets phyllo pastry, each about 14 inches long and 12 inches wide, thoroughly defrosted if frozen

Version 2 - Cigar plus Filling

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 15 ounces ground beef/lamb
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 pound filo pastry
  • 6 ounces melted butter


Version 1

  1. Heat the oven to Mark 6; 400 degrees F. Grease 2 baking sheets with 1 ounce of the butter, using a pastry brush.
  2. Assemble each "cigar" in the following way: Brush one sheet of phyllo evenly with 3/4 teaspoon of the butter. Fold the sheet in half crosswise to make a two-layered rectangle about 12 inches long and 7 inches wide. Brush the top with about 1/2 teaspoon of the butter. Make a 1-inch-wide fold on the closed side of the pastry and brush the fold lightly with butter. Sprinkle a teaspoon or so of the mixture in an even row along its length, and roll the phyllo into a tight cylinder, about 1 inch in diameter.
  3. Assemble the remaining sheets of phyllo in the same way. Gently transfer the rolls to the baking sheet, and brush the tops lightly with the rest of the butter. Bake in the top part of the oven for about 20 minutes, until the rolls are crisp and a delicate golden brown. Then slide them carefully onto a large serving dish.
  4. To serve, cut the rolls into 2-inch lengths and arrange them attractively on a serving plate.

Version 2

  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. To make filling: Cook onion in the olive oil until soft. Add beef or lamb, crushing it with a fork. Add seasonings and spices. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, until meat is well cooked and lump-free. Add parsley,
  3. Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl and pour over the meat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until egg mixture sets to creamy consistency. Add more spices and seasonings, if desired. Allow the filling to cool. Cut each sheet of filo pastry into three equal-size rectangles. Place one on top of the other and cover with a damp dish towel.
  4. Brush one of the rectangles lightly with melted butter. Place a teaspoon of filling along one of the short edges. Tuck the edge and ends of pastry around the filling, and roll into a cigar shape.
  5. Repeat with other rectangles. Place cigars side by side on a greased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cigars are golden.

Source: Lior (Israel)