• Almond and Fig

Updated: Jun 18


1 package frozen phyllo dough thawed For the filling 1 bag frozen spinach thawed 1 cup crumbled feta 1 red onion minced (you can sautée it or leave it raw) Salt and pepper to taste A few grates of fresh nutmeg Zest of one Lemon 2 tsp sumac 2 tbls pine nuts Nigella seeds or sesame seeds and flaky salt (optional) Olive oil for brushing

Filling: Squeeze the spinach until all the water comes out you can do that using a couple of paper towels. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, sumac, feta, pine nuts, onions, lemon zest.


Take 1 sheet of filo dough (make sure to cover the remaining sheets with a clean kitchen towel to prevent them from drying) Cut the sheet of phyllo into 3 even strips and brush with olive oil. Fold each strip in half creating a double layer. Place one teaspoon of the filling along the short side of the rectangle and roll creating a cigar ha! Brush the top with olive oil and add a Sprinkle of nigella seeds and flaky salt on top if you want to be fancy u know. Brush, fill, roll and repeat until you are done it goes by so fast. Line the cigars in a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a 350 oven for about 20 min until golden and crisp.

Dipping Sauce: 1 cup Greek yogurt 1/4 cup crumbled feta Juice and zest of one Lemon A drizzle of olive oil Whirl all ingredients in a blender or a mixer until smooth and fluffy Tip: Phyllo dough gets soggy after it sits out for a while just reheat in a toaster oven and enjoy

* These cigars are freezer friendly. Freeze them in a one sheet pan until frozen solid. Once frozen, pack in a freezer reusable bag. Don't defrost, reheat in a 350 oven until crisp and heated through 15-20 minutes.

Orange Blossom, Seville Marmalade & Cranberry Fresh Relish is a nice addition to your thanksgiving table. It adds a beautiful color and a vibrant fresh flavor that would compliment your roasted meats and creamed veggies. It’s fresh, slightly sweet and tart, it’s delicious.

I started with the recipe my mother in law makes every thanksgiving but Instead of sugar I boosted the sweetness of the sour cranberries with a Seville Orange marmalade that my mom sent me from a local women Co-op in the village of Ein Areek Palestine. Although you can use any sweetener you want, any citrus marmalade, cranberry jam, maple syrup or honey will be great too. I tinted the flavor of this relish with orange blossom water. Orange blossom water is so floral, its distilled with the essence of flowers from orange trees. Specifically, bitter oranges the variety that's used in the marmalade my mom sent. This variety of orange grows in Palestine and in the Levant.

Orange Blossom, Seville Marmalade & Cranberry Fresh Relish


  • 1 orange peeled and diced

  • Zest of the orange

  • 12 Oz fresh cranberries washed

  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom

  • Add 2 tbls of Seville orange marmalade **, you can also add marmalade or maple syrup or honey. Adjust the sweetness to your liking

**Seville oranges are extremely juicy, slightly sweet, tangy and bitter. Flavors that will give any dish savory or sweet a tart, clean and crisp taste. They are ideal for marmalade because of their wonderfully strong orange taste. After a while this orange, which began as sour and bitter, is transformed into a delightfully sweet and tart marmalade, truly unmatched in flavor.


This is the consistency we are looking for.

Grate the zest from the orange and set aside. Cut off any remaining pith from the orange. Cut the orange into chunks.

In a food processor, pulse the cranberries for a few seconds to get them going. Add the orange chunks, orange zest, and pulse until finely chopped. We are looking for a thick mixture not a puree, add the marmalade or the sweetener of choice. Add the orange blossom and pulse to combine.

If it’s not sweet enough to your liking then you can add honey, maple syrup or few tbls of sugar.

This can be assembled up to a few days in advance and enjoyed for a few days after.

  • Mai

Ah, pumpkin pie. A delicious combination of seasonal fruits yep pumpkins are fruits and creamy sweet and rich persimmons with some fall spices, and milk or cream and today’s family controversial ingredient. Yielding to a custardy, creamy filling with so many notes of fall. And once baked in a buttery pie crust and topped with fresh whipped cream (a must) its then that its officially thanksgiving. But lets go back to the first time i tried pumpkin pie. This bright orange dessert that's cold and has one note didn't appeal to my college self. You see, I grew up in Palestine and there we didn't celebrate thanksgiving, I had pumpkin pie at the age of 19 for the first time.

In fact, one year my pastor Assis Naim at the Anglican Church in Jerusalem once introduced thanksgiving to the church and we all had falafel sandwiches after the service :)

At first, I wondered why are we serving sweet potatoes mash for thanksgiving dinner and then a similar thing for dessert. It seemed so redundant to me, but the whipped cream made perfect sense and i loved that, I knew then that my palette will change to enjoy this dessert. Pass forward many years later of cooking with my mom in law who taught me so many delicious thanksgiving recipes and experimenting with my own flavors and recipes my favorite pumpkin was born. The creamy filling laced with orange zest and warm fall spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and I sometimes add allspice. This year i experimented with adding tahini (sesame paste). The bright orange sweet dessert needed a nutty boost I thought to myself. It will add dimension and another layer of flavor. Well, some of us at home loved it but my kids said: “mom; tahini belongs to shawarma”. But still not positive who ate almost the entire pie!!! While this remains a mystery i will be adding tahini to my pumpkin pie from now on. And the haters can have an apple pie with fresh whipped cream this thanksgiving.


  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin purée not pumpkin pie filling

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 tsps. cinnamon powder

  • 1/2 tsp cardamom

  • Few grates Of fresh nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp of cardamom

  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/4 cup tahini paste

  • 2 real ripe persimmons (so soft that they fall apart)

  • Zest of one orange

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie shell store bought or your favorite recipe

  • * 2 pre baked 9-inch shallow pie shells


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

  • In a large bowl Place the pumpkin purée, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices, persimmons pulp, orange zest and whisk until combined.

  • If making 1 (9-inch) deep dish pie: Pour the filling into an unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F and bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. **

  • If making 2 (9-inch) shallow pies: Divide the filling between 2 pre baked 9-inch pie shells.

  • Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F and bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. ** Let pies cool completely before serving

  • Serve pies with a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream


*Pre bake your shells: To blind bake the pie shells, bake at 425°F until the edges just start to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool before adding the filling.

** if your pie crust starts to brown quickly make sure you cover it loosely with foil

This is your pie and it’s your thanksgiving. Tweak the spices to your liking. If you are not sure about tahini start with 1-2 tbls and go from there. If you don’t like it at all then omit it and the pie will still be so delicious and won’t affect the ratio of the other ingredients.


Tahini, or sesame seed paste, is a staple of Arab, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean cooking. It’s perhaps most known for its essential role in hummus and mutabal. But the use is far beyond.

The two commonly found types of persimmons: are the hachiya and fuyu persimmons, which originated in Asia and are now grown in the U.S. and elsewhere. Fuyu persimmons are sweet, and can be eaten while still a little firm. Making them perfect for salads and eaten raw.

The hachiya persimmon will be sweet only when it’s very ripe or even overripe that it falls apart. Making them a perfect addition to baked goods. If you’ve ever had an unripe persimmon, the experience is memorable. It will numb your tongue lol so wait for it to completely ripen.

How to fast ripen hard Hachiyas:

You often fid the Hachiyas firm at the market. You can hurry the softening process by keeping them in a paper bag at room temperature for a few days.


Persimmons taste like no other fruit. They have a silky, almost a slippery texture and taste kind of like the fabulous fruity love child of a mango and a roasted sweet pepper, with some cinnamon in the background. They are rich and tangy and sweet, all at the same time.

Who ate the rest of the Tahini, PPP!!! will remain a mystery

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© 2018 by Almond & FIG