Briwat Bi Loz
by Claudia Roden
from Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon
Makes about 14 pastries
These exquisite pastries called “the bride’s fingers,” which are featured in medieval Arab manuscripts found in Baghdad, are fried and sprinkled with syrup and chopped pistachios. In Morocco, they are made with the thin pastry called warka or brick and deep-fried. I prefer to make them with phyllo and to bake them. I use a supermarket brand where the sheets are about 12 inches by 7 inches.
I especially recommend you try the dainty little “bride’s fingers” (see Variations). I make them for parties and I keep some in a cookie tin to serve with coffee. They are great favorites in our family; my mother always made them and now my children make them, too.—Claudia Roden
1/2 pound clear honey
1/2 cup water
2 cups ground almonds
1/2 to 2/3 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tablespoons orange-blossom water
14 sheets phyllo
5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1. Make the syrup by bringing the honey and water to the boil in a pan and simmering it for half a minute. Then let it cool.
2. Mix the ground almonds with the sugar, cinnamon, and orange-blossom water.
3. Open the package of phyllo only when you are ready to make the pastries. Keep them in a pile so that they do not dry out. Lightly brush the top one with melted butter.
4. Put a line of 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons of the almond filling 3/4 inch from one of the short ends of the rectangle. Extend the line of filling to within 3/4 inch of both of the long sides. Roll up loosely into a fat cigar shape. Turn the ends in about one-third of the way along to trap the filling for a turn or two, then continue to roll with the ends opened out. Continue with the remaining sheets of phyllo.
5. Place the pastries on a baking sheet, brush them with melted butter, and bake them in an oven (preheated to 300°F [150°C]) for 30 minutes, or until lightly golden and crisp.
6. Turn each pastry, while still warm, very quickly in the syrup and arrange on a dish. Serve cold with the remaining syrup poured all over.
Instead of the honey syrup, make a sugar syrup by simmering 1 cup water with 2 cups sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice for about 5 to 8 minutes, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, and adding 1 tablespoon orange-blossom water toward the end.
Instead of rolling the pastries in syrup, sprinkle them with confectioners’ sugar. These keep very well for days in an airtight cookie tin.
For dainty little “bride’s fingers,” cut sheets of phyllo into narrow strips — they can measure from 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches wide and be about 12 inches long. You can use larger sheets cut into 3 or 4 strips. Use 1 heaped tablespoon of the filling for each roll. This makes about 28.
Recipe © 2006 by Claudia Roden. All rights reserved.