The turning of the new year is a time for renewal, self-improvement, and un-attainable goals. I should be making New Years resolutions…but instead I’m making dessert.
I enter the new year a little nervous, but hopeful for all that it may hold. I can already tell my measuring cups won’t be neatly leveled off, and my tablespoons may be a bit over-filled, but I’ll gladly take that over the alternative.
And so without further ado, I’d like to introduce the first “Measure-less” Monday. Cooking in the style of life. I invite you to trust your instincts, throw most of your care to the wind, and just cook. Measure-less Mondays won’t happen every Monday–or every other Monday, for that matter…that is not in their nature. They will be sporadic, and improvised, with a little wiggle room for your own interpretation.
The first Measure-less Monday “recipe” comes from A Platter of Figs by David Tanis, and embodies everything I hope for you and I in 2011. Honest ingredients like walnuts and honey…celebratory and a little indulgent with butter and sugar, and of course, made complex with a couple surprise ingredients, just like life.
- 2 cups shelled walnuts, toasted if desired
- Melted butter (about 2 sticks), use vegan butter to make dairy-free
- Orange flower water
- Almond extract
- Phyllo dough from a package, thawed**
- Shelled pistachios, chopped (I used salted pistachios and was pleasantly surprised)
- Make the Filling: Chop the walnuts. Add sugar to taste, and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle with orange flower water (start with a small amount, taste, and adjust), a few drops of almond extract, and some cinnamon. Add a splash of cold water (a few tablespoons) and stir.
- Roll the Cigars: For each cigar, brush a sheet of phyllo dough with melted butter. Fold the sheet in half lengthwise, then brush with butter again. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons walnuts (or more) in a strip along the short end of the phyllo. Roll the phyllo around the walnuts (like an eggroll, see photos above). Place on a buttered baking sheet, side by side but not touching. Brush with more melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.