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Crisp Almond and Sesame Pastries
Samsa - Tunisia

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2/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
orange-flower water
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds, lightly toasted and ground
1 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, if liked
about 4 oz filo pastry
olive oil, for brushing
lightly toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling.


Put the water and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring until dissolved. Add the lemon juice and boil until syrupy. Remove from the heat and add the orange-flower water. Leave to cool. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, stir together the ground almonds, orange zest, cinnamon if using and remaining sugar, then knead together the ingredients.

Brush one sheet of filo with olive oil, keep the other sheets covered with a damp cloth. Cut the oiled sheet into 3 lengthwise strips. Place a small spoonful of filling at the bottom of each strip.  Fold the sides over the filling then roll the pastry up along the length. Brush inside the end of the pastry with oil and seal it to the roll. Brush with oil and put on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling. Bake the pastries for 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden.

Lower the pastries a few at a time into the hot syrup, leave for about 3 minutes so the syrup penetrates the pastries. The remove to a plate and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Leave until cold before serving.

Makes 24

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