• file:6694_sbs-cigar-nut-pastries-recipe.jpg

An dessert rich with Middle Eastern flavours, from Greg Malouf.  






Skill level

Average: 4 (58 votes)


  • 50g (½ cup) walnuts, finely chopped 
  • 50g (½ cup) almonds, finely chopped 
  • 50g (½ cup) pistachios, finely chopped, plus extra, to serve 
  • 110g (½ cup firmly packed) brown sugar 
  • 2 tsp orange-blossom water (see Note)
  • 16 sheets filo pastry 
  • 250g unsalted butter, melted 

Sugar syrup

  • 300g white sugar 
  • 200ml water 
  • 1 cinnamon quill 
  • 3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed 
  • 2½ tsp orange-blossom water 

Orange-honey cream

  • 250ml (1 cup) pouring cream 
  • 2 tbsp honey 
  • ½ orange, finely zested

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make sugar syrup, place all the ingredients, except the orange-blossom water, in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook for a further 4 minutes or until syrup slightly thickens. Remove from heat, add orange-blossom water and swirl to combine. Cool. Makes 1¼ cups.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine all the nuts, brown sugar and orange-blossom water in a bowl.

Place 1 sheet of filo pastry on a dry surface, keeping the others covered with a lightly dampened tea towel. Liberally brush with melted butter and sprinkle 1 tbsp of nut mixture evenly over sheet.

Place a long (at least 30cm) knitting needle or chopstick at the short end of the pastry and roll up filo around the knitting needle as evenly as possible. Push ends of filo towards each other so the pastry scrunches up evenly. Pull out needle and lay cigar on a greased baking tray. Repeat with the remaining sheets of filo, butter and nut mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden, then transfer to a wire rack. Reserve 60ml sugar syrup and brush pastry with remaining syrup. Refrigerate until cold.

Meanwhile, to make orange-honey cream, whisk cream, honey and orange zest to stiff peaks.

Cut pastry cigars in half. Place 4 cigars on each plate to form a square. Spoon orange-honey cream into the centre of each, drizzle with reserved syrup and sprinkle with extra pistachios.


• Orange-blossom water is available from specialist and Middle Eastern food shops.

As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 8, pg109.

Edited extract from Cooking with the World’s Best: Celebrating 20 Years of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (Murdoch Books, $50). Photography by Alicia Taylor.