These dainty little rolls, or “cigars,” make ideal appetizers and canapés. The cheese used is beyaz peynir, or “white cheese,” which is salty and much like feta cheese. Use large sheets of fillo measuring about 19 inches × 12 inches, cut into strips, but if the fillo sheets are too thin, the pastry is liable to tear and the filling to burst out during the cooking. In that case, use 2 strips together, brushing with butter in between. You will then need to double the number of sheets. I prefer using only one strip if possible, as it makes for a lighter pastry. Serve the rolls hot. They can be made in advance and reheated.
- 7 ounces feta cheese, mashed with a fork
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons chopped mint or dill
- 8 large sheets of filo
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
Makes 16 rolls
For the filling, mix the mashed feta with the egg and chopped mint or dill.
Take out the sheets of fillo only when you are ready to use them since they dry out quickly. Cut them into 4 rectangles measuring about 12 inches × 4½ to 5 inches and put them in a pile on top of each other. Brush the top strip lightly with melted butter. Take a tablespoon of filling. Place it at one short end of the strip in a thin sausage shape along the edge, about ¾ inch from it and ¾ inch from the side edges. Roll up the fillo with the filling inside, like a cigar. Fold in the ends about one-third of the way along to trap the filling, and then continue to roll.
Do the same with the remaining strips of fillo and cheese filling. Place the cigars, seam side down, on a baking sheet and brush the tops with melted butter. Bake at 300°F for 30 minutes, or until crisp and golden.
Serving size is 1 roll.