Delicate phyllo pastries fragrant with cardamom and cinnamon make a light and delicious dessert. Phyllo pastry is remarkably easy to work with — just remember to keep sheets you are not using covered with a damp cloth. If it tears, simply patch it back together.
6 sheets phyllo pastry
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
Pinch each cinnamon and cardamom
Finely grated zest of half a lemon
Step 1: To make almond mixture, combine almonds, 2 tbsp sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom in food processor. Process until almonds are finely ground. Reserve.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking pan with parchment paper. Lay one sheet of phyllo pastry horizontally on counter and brush all over with melted butter. (Keep remaining phyllo sheets covered with a damp cloth.)
Step 3: Sprinkle a scant 1/4 cup of almond mixture over buttered phyllo sheet. Cover with a second sheet of phyllo and pat firmly. Brush top sheet with melted butter.
Step 4: Using a sharp knife, cut the stacked and buttered phyllo sheets into 4 wide ribbons. Roll each ribbon into a cigar shape, being sure to not roll too tightly. Place “cigars” on prepared baking pan and brush each with melted butter. Repeat steps with remaining phyllo sheets and almond mixture. You will have 12 cigars.
Step 5: Bake in centre of oven 12-15 minutes, or until phyllo turns deep golden.
Step 6: Meanwhile, to make lemon syrup, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 3 tbsp water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Add honey, lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon and cardamom and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Step 7: Pour syrup over cooked, still-hot phyllo crisps. Let cool to room temperature in pan.
Step 8: Dust with icing sugar and serve with lightly sweetened, softly whipped cream and pomegranate seeds, if desired.