Vegan baklava cigars

Vegan baklava cigars

vegan baklava cigars and espresso

Baklava is one of these things that I did not use to like until I came of age. When my gran brought it back from one of her travels to Turkey when I was young, I pronounced it ‘too sweet’ (can you believe it?) while shoving a handful of nasty, perfumed, artificially-coloured, heart-shaped sweets into my face. Classy, eh? 🙂

When I moved to London, I got to taste this Middle-Eastern treat again and fell in love with it immediately. I was lucky enough to live near one of the most famous baklava destinations and going out for a piece of baklava and an espresso had become a weekend ritual for me and my then boyfriend.

I have to agree with my younger self, on its own baklava may send your taste buds into a sensory overload, but when paired with strong, black coffee it really hits the spot. Baklava is very popular in Greece too and if not for the fact that I’m vegan, I would be tempted to simply buy it from time to time. Unfortunately, as most baklava contains a prolific amount of butter (and often honey), I now make my own when the craving strikes.

It’s really quite easy to make so please don’t be intimidated. Plus, even though these vegan baklava cigars obviously aren’t a health food, they are way healthier than traditional baklava (yet just as indulgent). I used a small amount of mild olive oil instead of melted butter and maple syrup instead of sugar and honey. Learning from my previous attempts, I brushed every pastry sheet with only a small amount of oil to get a crispy and grease-free end result and I’m pleased to say that all four of my taste testers made loads of approving noises during consumption so I’m confident you’ll love them too.

vegan baklava cigars tray

vegan baklava cigars

vegan baklava cigars close up

makes
12-24 pieces
PREP
40 min
COOKING
25 min
makes
12-24 pieces
PREPARATION
40 min
COOKING
25 min
INGREDIENTS

SYRUP

  • ¾ cup / 180 ml freshly squeezed orange juice (or water + lemon juice to taste)
  • ¼ cup / 60 ml maple syrup
  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped

BAKLAVA CIGARS

  • 1 cup / approx. 130 g almonds
  • 1 cup / approx. 100 g walnuts
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1-2 oranges
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp / 75 ml maple syrup
  • 3 vegan filo pastry sheets (mine were 35 x 46 cm / 14 x 18 “), thawed*
  • 2 tbsp mild olive oil
  • 1 tbsp shelled pistachios, very finely chopped

METHOD
SYRUP

  1. Put strained orange juice, maple syrup and vanilla bean (if using) into a small pot and gently bring to the boil. Simmer on a very low heat until you get a thin syrup that coats the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool.

BAKLAVA CIGARS

  1. Grind nuts for the filling in a food processor until you get a coarse crumb. You can use any nuts you like, I went for a mixture of almonds and walnuts.
  2. Place ground nuts in a bowl with salt, cinnamon, lemon and orange zest. Mix all the dry ingredients well and add maple syrup to bind.
  3. Prepare a baking tin by brushing it with a small amount of olive oil. Wet two clean kitchen towels and wring them both out really well.
  4. If you want your cigars to look identical, it’s a good idea to weigh all the filling and then divide it into 6 equal portions.
  5. Open a thawed packet of filo, gently remove one sheet and cover the remaining sheets with a piece of cling film and a damp kitchen towel to prevent the pastry from drying out. Filo tears really easily so you need to be very gentle with it and if it has small tears in it, it’s still okay to use but make sure they are not located at the beginning of your rolls.
  6. Cut the first sheet in half along the widest edge. Place one half in front of you with the longer edge perpendicular to you (with the shorter edge facing you). Put the other half with the whole sheets, under a damp towel.
  7. Lightly dip a pastry brush in olive oil and brush the pastry with it. Go easy on the amount of oil as you don’t want the cigars to be oily, but make sure you cover the entire sheet with light brush strokes.
  8. Place about 2 generous tablespoons of the filling at the bottom of the oiled sheet leaving a 1 inch / 2.5 cm margin at the bottom and on the sides of the sheet.
  9. Mould the filling with your hands (it should be sticking together easily) into a long sausage. Start rolling the cigar by folding the bottom margin over the filling, then fold the sides in (like you would with a burrito) and finally roll the cigar tightly around the filling. Apply a little bit more oil to seal the roll. Place it in a greased tin, seam down. Cover with the second damp kitchen towel while you roll the remaining cigars.
  10. Repeat the last 3 steps with the remaining 2.5 sheets. If you want to use up the entire roll of pastry, you could fold each sheet in half and use a double layer of pastry for each cigar.
  11. Pre-heat the oven to 180º C / 355º F.
  12. Place the cigars in the tin snugly. Using a sharp knife cut each cigar into 2, 3 or even 4 (depending how big you want them) pieces. Brush the tops with a small amount of oil and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  13. As soon as the cigars are ready, brush them with cold (that’s important as otherwise they’ll end up soggy) syrup. Sprinkle with finely chopped pistachios. If you made more than you are able to eat, just freeze the remainder.

NOTES
*The day before you intend to make your baklava cigars, place your frozen (unless you use fresh, in which case no need to worry about this step) filo into the fridge to allow it to thaw slowly. My filo came in 2 rolls of 6 sheets so I only thawed one roll for this dessert (and used 3 sheets) and kept the other one in the freezer.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
100
5%
sugars
5 g
6%
fats
7 g
10%
saturates
1 g
3%
proteins
2 g
4%
carbs
9 g
3%
*per cigar
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5.0
16 reviews, 53 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Katie Ponder:
Food of the gods! I braced myself for a challenge when I decided to do this recipe, but it was actually very straightforward and the results - wow!!!!!! Nothing could be heard but ‘mmm’ ‘yum’ and munching noises when I served these up to my delighted friends. Absolutely scrumptious! Thank your Lazy Cat!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you so much, Katie! I'm delighted that your found it worth the effort and quite straightforward to make. Thanks so much taking the time to leave this review - I really appreciate it. x Ania
Gabriele:
Hi, I have watched the video and following the recipe and i’m just a little confused. In the recipe you say to cut it along the widest length, which, with the short side facing me, i assume is a vertical cut parallel to the long edge. However, when i watch the video, it looks like the sheet is wider, almost as if you’re using the whole, uncut sheet, is that right ? hope to hear from you soon as i’m making it right now hahah.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Gabriele,What you see in the video is actually half of the sheet already - we didn't show the cutting in the video as it's not that relevant. I all depends on how big your pastry sheets are - we used Greek sheets and they were quite big: 35 x 46 cm / 14 x 18. Hope this helps! x Ania
Varsha:
Where do you find vegan phyllo sheets? Due to medical reasons I cannot use any dairy product. Your recipe looks very tempting but it has to be dairy free. Thx
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Varsha,I don't know where you live, but here (in the UK) you can find them in every supermarket and they are not even labelled as vegan, but when you look at the ingredients list they are! It's because butter is more expensive than vegetable fats and unless something is marketed as using butter, most often it does not. Good luck! Ania
Nancy Lou:
I have made these baklava 🚬 with Ania's recipe several times... They are incredibly delicious!!! They keep in the fridge for days when well covered and are still crispy . The flavor is even better if you're able to keep them a while 😉. I am so addicted to these that I will hide them from family and friends ! Thank you so much Ania 💓
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hahaha, I love you style, Nancy! Hiding the treats from family and friends - that made me laugh out loud. So happy to hear that you enjoy these and I agree, they taste even better the day after they've been made. Ania
Patricia:
Hello Ania Can I use carton orange juice?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Sure, I don't see why not. Ania
Bri:
Dear Ania, I have done your recipe twice and it is just wonderful. You managed to make a superb alternative to the original baklava which is full of sugar and butter. Thank you for sharing it.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Bri! I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed them! And thank you for taking the time to rate this recipe – it helps this blog grow and keeps me creating more recipes! x Ania
Prishanta Pillay:
Love this recipe, thank you. It was delicious and easy!
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure, I am delighted to hear that, Prishanta! x Ania
Stéphanie:
Divine!! I just pulled these out of the oven and they look and smell perfec. I sampled the filling and it is perfect so I know the finished product will be delicious. Thank you for the detailed instructions and video.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Stéphanie,I'm so chuffed to hear that, thanks for letting me know. x Ania
Avni:
Hello How long can you keep the cigars for?
    Ania
    Ania:
    I would say 2-3 days. Hope that helps! Ania
Payal:
Made these on Friday to share with family and they were a hit! I used pistachios instead of almonds and used 6 sheets of filo. I skipped the step of tucking in the ends (just was working too fast and skipped over that part!). I am not even a baklava fan and I enjoyed this. The syrup did take a while to reduce down (tip for anyone who is not used to reducing down syrups like me!). I would daresay I could have used a teensy bit more of that syrup just to lap up. I also found I needed to bake the cigars a lot longer than the recipe called for (maybe because I was using a double layer of filo)?Fantastic recipe and really made easy something I thought was so super complicated to make, and vegan to boot!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Payal! I'm so glad to hear that you and your family enjoyed these. The baking time difference will be partly due to a double pastry layer, but also ovens differ vastly from each other so perhaps my oven runs a bit lower than yours. Great to hear that they were such a success! Ania
Anubha Sahai:
Hey! I want to make the pastry sheet at home. Can also help with this. I'm vegan so no egg!. Thanks Love Anubha
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi,Sorry, I would love to be able to help but I've not made homemade phyllo yet, I always use shop-bought. Ania
Evgenia:
Hello, Anie! Could I make myself the pastry filo? Because it's difficult to find the filo without sugar and trans fats..
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Evgenia, I imagine you could, but it's not the easiest thing to get right, I think. I have never tried to be honest. Ania
Teresa:
How can I make these without any oil?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Teresa,I am not sure if it will work - I mean, even phyllo pastry itself contains a fair amount of it. You are welcome to try, but I'm not sure it will work. Ania
George C. Conrad:
This is certainly an interesting version of baklava for vegans! Thank you for sharing this Middle-east inspired dessert recipe. Looking forward to try out this yummy treat soon. Can't wait after I get home.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, George! Hope you'll enjoy it! Ania
Angel Heinemann:
I just made these! I used 1 cup of walnuts, 3/4 cup pistachios, and 1/4 cup almonds. These are absolutely delicious! I made the syrup the day before and stored it in the fridge to ensure it was COLD when I brushed it on the cigars when they came out of the oven. I also just folded the filo in half so I used a whole sheet per cigar. And I ate two while still warm with a hot cup of coffee! DIVINE! Thank you for this recipe! <3
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much for kind words, Angel - that's so nice to hear! Yes, I know exactly what you are talking about, glazing them and not having a piece (or two ;) ) immediately afterwards is hard to resist, isn't it? Ania
Marina:
Hi Ania, these look amazing, I've never made anything with filo pasty before so I am wondering if you could advice if it's OK to not apply any oil on the pasty before putting it in the oven? I can't have any heated oil for health reasons, it goes for any from olive to coconut, would it be enough if I brush the pastry with syrup mixture? Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Marina,I'm not sure, my gut feeling is that you would end up with dry phyllo. I guess it's worth a shot on a small sample perhaps? Ania
Stephanie:
Hi! In step 14 you wrote, "As soon as the cigars are ready...". Does that mean as soon as they come out of the oven or after cooled/before serving?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Stephanie,Yes, I meant as soon as they come out of the oven. Hope that helps! Ania
Jodua:
Do you think I could replace the maple syrup in this recipe with honey and it would still work?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Jodua,I *think* so although I haven't tried myself. Two suggestions I have is to taste the filling for sweetness as I think honey is possibly a bit less sweet than maple syrup. And it may also be a good idea to dilute the honey that goes into the filling with a tiny splash of water - it may not be necessary, but it might help distributing it around. Hope that helps! Ania
      Josua:
      Nice. Thanks. I will try it today then. :)
dorothée:
Bonjour, Je vous découvre aujourd'hui et j'en suis très contente !!!! Que des très bonnes choses que je vais pouvoir cuisiner!!!! Graçe à vous ! Merci d'avance. Je viens de réaliser les baklavas,et je dois dire que c'est une pure merveille !!!! Trop trop bon... Merci beaucoup .Bon maintenant je dois aller faire les courses pour pouvoir essayer pleins de bonnes choses notemment les cinnamons rolls à la datte.Merveilleuse découverte....
    Ania
    Ania:
    Je suis tellement content d'entendre ça, Dorothee! And I shall continue in English as my French is rusty, sadly! Hope you'll enjoy my take on baklava and cinnamon rolls and all other recipes that caught your interest. Ania
Lauren:
These look delicious - a perfect vegan weekend treat. Pinned and added to next week's meal plan!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much, Lauren! Hope you'll give them a go. Ania
Patrycja:
Aniu, zdradzisz gdzie chodzilas na baklave w Londynie?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Ha ha, oczywiście, z przyjemnością - Harringay Green Lanes, patrząc w stronę mostu/Homebase po lewej stronie ulicy, taki mały sklepik tylko z baklawą (nazwy nie pamiętam). On jest na tym odcinku pomiędzy Gökyüzü a Homebase. Mam nadzieję, że znajdziesz biorąc pod uwagę moje kiepskie instrukcje :) Ania
Hannah:
I've just come back from Greece where I ate my weight in these! However, looking for a healthier alternative and these look perfect. Thank you :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Hannah! Great, hope you'll enjoy these ones as much as the more 'sinful' versions you have had ;) Ania
angypangy:
Wonderful recipe, thd orange syrup really gives it an original flavour!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoyed them! :) Ania
Susan:
I made these last week. Very easy and very delicious! This is a keeper. I'll make these for the next work "bring a dessert" event.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you for kind words, Susan. I'm so pleased to hear that you liked them! Ania
Teresa:
Since I gave up refined sugar about 8 years ago, baklava is one of those things I really missed. I've caved a couple of times and had it at my favourite Greek restaurant but it's not something I should be doing. Now I finally have a delicious, easy, recipe to make it myself. They came out so delicious I'm having a hard time saving any to share with my friends.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much for your kind words, Teresa. I'm so pleased to hear that the recipe was such a success! :) Ania
jodie:
Gorgeous looking recipe and photos! I haven't had baclava for years (mainly because of all the sugar) so I can't wait to try this one out x Big thanks x
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Jodie,Aw, that's so nice to hear, thank you! Hope you'll like it! Ania
Lynsey:
Baklava is one of my all time favourite desserts, sticky, nutty and sweet - what more could you ask for! Can't wait to give these a go as they look beautiful. L x
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Lynsey, hope you'll love them! :)
Vegan Recipes:
Wow! I love this vegan version of Baklava, they look really amazing! :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, that's so nice to hear! :)
Agata:
Hello Aniu. :) posty od jakiegoś czasu są tylko po angielsku ale ja pozwolę sobie napisać po polsku, jeśli jest to sprzeczne z konwencją to wybacz :) przepis boski! chciałabym zapytać czy myślisz że syrop wyszedłby również na ksylitolu?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Cześć Agato! ha ha, nie, nie jest sprzeczne z konwencją, nic się nie martw! :) Dzięki, cieszy mnie że podoba Ci się przepis. Co do ksylitolu to powiem szczerze, że nigdy nie używałam ale jeśli da się z niego zrobić syrop to myślę, że tak. Powodzenia i daj znać jak poszło! x Ania
Matt:
I'm so used to baklava with honey, I'm intrigued by the use of maple syrup. Thanks for sharing.
    Ania
    Ania:
    It works rather well, although I may be biased ;) Hope you'll try it!
Rhian @ Rhian's Recipes:
Wow what a good idea! These look stunning too
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Rhian! It's lovely to hear :)
Lisa:
Omg I love Baklava and was so worried I'd be missing out on this since becoming vegan, going to make these asap!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yay! That's fantastic, I hope you'll love them! x
Tina:
Oh My!These look wonderful - I will definitely be trying these at the weekend.Thank you for a gorgeous recipe.
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure, Tina. Hope you'll love them! :) Let me know how you get on! x
Skylar:
Co za niefart! Przez to, że większość przepisów zamieszczasz po angielsku będę musiała się zmusić do bardziej aktywnego używania tego języka żeby wszystko gładko zrozumieć. Wrr :) A tak na serio: dzięki za ten przepis, chętnie go przetłumaczę i zrobię, też mam ochotę na bez-masłową i mniej słodką wersję baklawy. Pozdrawiam po sąsiedzku z kraju baklawy czyli Turcji :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Dzięki i mam nadzieję, że przepis Ci podejdzie! A co do angielskiego to może to lepiej bo mój polski skiepścił się trochę :) Pozdrawiam również! x
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