PREP + COOK TIME 1 HOUR (+ COOLING & STANDING) MAKES 16
220g fresh dates, pitted,
½ cup (125ml) water
2 tablespoons caster sugar 1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup (40g) walnuts, roasted,
100g butter, chopped
8 sheets filo pastry (see cook’s notes) 100g dark chocolate (70 per cent
cocoa solids), finely chopped 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan. Grease two oven trays; line with baking paper.
2 Stir dates, the water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low; cook for 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and most of the liquid has evaporated. Cool for 5 minutes.
3 Stir rind, extract and walnuts into date mixture. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap; cool to room temperature.
4 Melt butter. Cut one sheet of pastry in half widthways; brush butter around edges. With a long edge facing you, place 3 teaspoons of filling 1cm up from the long edge. Using damp fingers, pinch the filling out until 15cm long, leaving a border at each short end. Loosely fold in the sides, then roll up the pastry to form a cigar shape; brush with butter. Repeat to make a total of 16 rolls.
5 Place on trays; bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on trays.
6 Place chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water (don’t let water touch base of bowl); stir until smooth. Remove bowl from pan, stir in oil; cool for 10 minutes. Dip the cigar ends into melted chocolate; return to trays. Spoon remaining chocolate into a small ziptop bag; snip end and drizzle chocolate over tops of filo cigars. Stand until set.