Esfiha fechada (Beef Pasties)

Esfiha fechada (Beef Pasties)


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 method

Preparation of the dough:

  1. 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.
  2. Add oil, salt and flour to the yeast mixture.
  3. Knead dough with hands and let rise until it about doubles in volume.

Preparation of the filling:

  1. 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.
  2. Chop the tomatoes and add with the other ingredients for the filling, mixing well; sauté.
  3. Season it with salt and black pepper.

To assemble the esfihas:

  1. Roll out the dough to about a 2mm thickness.
  2. Cut out 10 cm diameter (approximately) discs.
  3. 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.
  4. Place the esfihas seam-side down on a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper.
  5. Brush with beaten egg yolk and let them rise until puffy and almost doubled in size.
  6. Bake at 200°C for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. They may be frozen already baked and heated in a hot oven just before serving.

Yield: 35 esfihas.

Posted on: 11 November 2011