Daktyla kyrion (meaning ladies fingers) is one of the most known Cypriot pastry desserts and a speciality offered during the pre-lenten period called “Sikoses” in Cyprus. Pounded almonds are mixed with cinnamon, sugar and blossom water and the filling is wrapped in thin phyllo. It is then fried and bathed in an aromatic syrup with blossom water.
The word “sikoses” mentioned above, derives from the verb σηκώνω = sikono, meaning lifting. Sikoses is the ten day period before lent when the lifting of all the meat takes place before Easter. As most of the Cypriot traditional recipes these were made with simple ingredients which the housewives had at home everyday. A very old recipe with few ingredients but so delicious.
Making daktyla used to be quite a difficult job, having to roll out the dough into very thin phyllo but nowadays it is much easier if using a pasta machine, although the procedure is time consuming as it takes some time to make them.
I remember my mother would make them quite often and she used to roll out the phyllo the traditional way, by hand. She always needed some help and she would call me to help, as by the time I was 10 -12 years old shes was about 55 years old and suffered from rheumatisms. The remaining five siblins were either married or lived abroad. The youngest of them all was my brother and he was seven years older than I and my first sister was seventeen years older than me, so I was the only one left to help her.
At the beginning she would tell me to press the edges with a fork and gradually year by year I helped her even more and would even roll out the phyllo, until I got married and then bought a pasta machine, which made things much easier.
The recipe is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!