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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sfiha: Savory Syrian Pastries

The original recipe is here.  According to S. (who polished off half of them, with yogurt, for lunch), these pastries taste just like his mother used to make.  She lived in Syria for many years and is a very good cook so I guess this recipe is as authentic as it can be.

1 cup warm water (I used warm reduced-fat milk because I had some leftover milk and wanted to experiment)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups flour (all-purpose)
1 tsp sugar
1 packet dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 kg (16 oz) ground lamb meat (I used lean ground beef)
1 kg (32 oz) firm tomatoes, finely chopped (I used 4 medium tomatoes)
5 medium onions, finely chopped (I only used 1 large onion)
1 tsp salt
A generous dash of ground cayenne red pepper, ground cinnamon, and ground allspice
2 tbsp butter, finely diced
2 tbsp Greek-style yogurt
1 tbsp sesame paste (tahini)
1 tbsp pomegranate thickened juice (if available -- I did not have any)
4 tbsp fried pine nuts (S. loves pine nuts so I used 5 tbsp, lightly toasted is a dry skillet)
  1. Add all dough ingredients to the breadmaker in the order provided.  Set on Dough.
  2. Mix ground meat, tomatoes (drain excess juice, if necessary), onion and spices.
  3. Add yogurt, sesame paste, and pomegranate (if you have it).
  4. Lightly toast pine nuts.
  5. Add pine nuts and butter to the meat.
  6. Mix to incorporate all ingredients.
  7. When the dough is ready, place it in a bowl lighlty sprayed with non-stick spray.  It should be very pliable -- very easy to work with.
  8. Break off pieces of dough and form into walnut-size balls. Roll between palms to smooth.
  9. You can roll out balls with a rolling pin or just shape with hands, to form approximately 3" circles.
  10. Place some meat (meatball-size?) mixture on the dough circle and flatten just a bit, to spread the meat.
  11. Bring edges up and press to make a square -- see my photo above.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  13. Spray the cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  14. Arrange meat pastries on the sheet, making sure that their sides don't touch (you don't need much space between them, just make sure they don't touch).
  15. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until pastries are golden brown and the meat is cooked.
  16. Serve warm, with Greek-style yogurt.

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