Friday, 10 July 2009

Asabia el Aroos (Brides Fingers)

Filo based pastries are very common in the middle eastern countries. The very common ones are the 'Baklawa' . These are simply filo dough filled with nuts, sometimes with cooked cream,then baked and soaked in a lovely sweet sugar syrup, sometimes flavoured with rose water or orange blossom water. They look quite complicated, but believe me,they are so simple to make if you have the ready-made filo dough. The only difficult part might be handling the filo, since they are so thin;much thinner than a paper. Asabia el Aroos are lovely slender crisps of filo filled with sweetened nuts are as heavenly as baklava, much easier to prepare and to eat, and lower in calories and fat.

It always happens while watching the cookery show that I see certain food being prepared, I get tempted and shop all the ingredients needed for that recipe. But as the time goes by, I forget about whole stuff, the ingredients of that particular recipe gets used in my other everyday cooking and some of it just stays there forever without being noticed. Such was this Filo dough that was resting in the freezer for many many months or may be a year. Just made sure that they weren't out dated:) I bought it the other day when I saw one of the chefs preparing my very favourite middle eastern sweet Baklawa on TV. I got so excited and I bought the filo dough and nuts. But since my husband hates baklava (can you believe) I was a bit reluctant to make it because I was sure I will end up eating the whole stuff all by myself. Yet I bought it as I just couldn't resist my temptation to make it. Even though I was tempted, I was very much intimidated to work with the filo reading its fragility from many places. Yes, it is very fragile, but if handled gently and carefully, it is not as difficult as you think.

After making this, I thought it was a bit time consuming. Rolling the filo took me ages. So if you are planning to make this, make sure you get a helping hand. In Baklawa, more and more butter is basted in each layer where as in Brides fingers, I lightly brushed just the top layer with little butter. I would love to make these and present it to someone when I make them next. What a lovely gift that would make, Isn't it?

Sweet Syrup:
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp lime juice
4 tbs honey
1 cup almonds or pistachios, pulverized in food processor with
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp Cinnamom powder
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs water
400g frozen filo dough 18" * 12" , completely defrosted
70g unsalted butter, melted

1.For making the syrup: Place a saucepan on moderate heat and add in sugar and water. Bring to boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes until you get a thick syrup. Add lemon juice and turn the flame off. Once the syrup is cooled a bit, add honey and stir well. If desired, you can add 1/2 tsp of rose water to this. Prepare this syrup in advance and chill in the refrigerator.
2.Combine the filling ingredients.

3. Cut the filo in half crosswise making it 9" * 12" and again halve them and make it into 4.5 " * 12. Stack them up and cover them with a damp towel as soon as possible to prevent the dough from drying out.
4. Lay 2 rectangles on your work surface with the shorter sides facing you, and brush lightly with melted butter. (Just brush the top layer. No need to brush the bottom layer).
5. Place a rounded tablespoon of the filling in a line across the shorter side of filo that faces you. Fold the longer edges of the pastry inward, sealing in the sides of the filling, and roll the pastry up from the short side, forming a fat cigar shape. Place on the baking sheet with the cut edge down. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover all the prepared cigars with another wet towel as soon as they are being made.

6.Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease 1 or 2 baking sheets.
7. Brush the tops of the pastries lightly with a bit of beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
9. Arrange the warm finger on a serving tray and pour the syrup all over. This way the pastry will absorb all the syrup and will taste almost like Baklawa. If this sounds too sweet for you, just dip the filo fingers in syrup and arrange in a tray. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe Courtesy:
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