Dynamite Chilli Cigars

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Known as briwat in Morocco, we have something quite similar in the Levant called raqaqat. What’s lovely about this recipe is that there is plenty of cheese and not too much filo/phyllo, so that the “cigar” is very creamy, with a light and crisp casing. Some of them might explode a bit in the oven, but this is fine. They are not called “dynamite” for nothing...! They can be assembled up to 4 hours ahead, then covered with cling film/plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • olive oil, for greasing
  • 250 g/9 oz soft goat’s cheese, crumbled
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 small mild red chilli, deseeded and very thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds 1 egg, separated
  • 4–5 sheets of filo/phyllo pastry (defrosted if frozen)
  • 75 g/ oz/5 tbsp salted butter
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and lightly grease a baking sheet with oil. Put the crumbled goat’s cheese, garlic, chilli, oregano, sesame seeds and egg yolk in a mixing bowl and beat well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Remove 4 sheets of the filo/phyllo pastry from their packaging and cut into 18 x 10cm/7 x 4in strips. You should get 24 strips, depending on how accurately you cut them. If you are short, use part of the last sheet, too. Cover the strips with a damp dish towel to stop the pastry drying out while you work.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Working with one pastry strip at a time, and keeping the others covered, place a strip on the work surface with a short end towards you. Brush the strip with melted butter, then put another strip on top and brush that with butter.
  4. Place 1 scant tablespoon of the goat’s cheese filling at the short end nearest to you, leaving 1.5 cm/½ in pastry on each side. Fold the strip over the filling, and fold in the sides all the way to the end, then roll away from you to form a roll.
  5. Beat the egg white and use it to brush the seam, then brush all over the roll with a little more melted butter. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 12 rolls.
  6. Put the cigars seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 5–7 minutes until lightly golden and crisp. Serve hot.