The origin of the “esfiha” is Lebanese and dates back to the origins of bread, which received a layer of meat and onion. It is also believed that “esfiha fechada” (closed esfiha) is a variation of the original dish when it arrived in the West.
It is a delicious snack to be served with lemon wedges and hot pepper, but it can also serve it as a main dish, accompanied by green salad.
For the dough:
• 30 g fresh brewer’s yeast
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 270 ml warm milk
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 150 ml corn oil
• 500 g all-purpose flour, approximately
For the filling:
• 500 g ground beef
• ½ lemon juice
• 1 mature tomato
• ½ onion
• ¼ sweet pepper
• oil, salt and black pepper
To brush the top of pasties:
• 2 egg yolks
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preparation of the dough:
- Dissolve the fresh brewer’s yeast and sugar in the warm milk and let rise covered and protected (inside the oven, turned off) for 15 – 30 minutes.
- Add oil, salt and flour to the yeast mixture.
- Knead dough with hands and let rise until it about doubles in volume.
Preparation of the filling:
- Chop the onion and the sweet pepper and sauté in a little oil. The original recipe uses the onion and the sweet pepper raw, but some people might find it slightly heavy.
- Chop the tomatoes and add with the other ingredients for the filling, mixing well; sauté.
- Season it with salt and black pepper.
To assemble the esfihas:
- Roll out the dough to about a 2mm thickness.
- Cut out 10 cm diameter (approximately) discs.
- Place a tablespoon of filling in center of the dough disk. Fold three edges of the disk over the filling like an envelope, to form a triangle. Pinch the edges close.
- Place the esfihas seam-side down on a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper.
- Brush with beaten egg yolk and let them rise until puffy and almost doubled in size.
- Bake at 200°C for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.
- They may be frozen already baked and heated in a hot oven just before serving.
Yield: 35 esfihas.
Posted on: 11 November 2011