Sfeeha: Middle Eastern Lamb and Pine Nut Pies with Tzatziki




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Sfeeha: Middle Eastern Lamb and Pine Nut Pies with Tzatziki ~ deliciously little appetizer pastries filled with spiced ground lamb and pine nuts.

These little appetizer sized pies made with a spiced lamb filling are common in the Middle East.  There are lots of variations; some are bite sized, some are like little pizzas, but they all have a filling of spiced lamb and vegetables.

Since my daughter is finally home from her summer fellowship in the Middle East, it seemed like a good time to try them.  I’ve had them bookmarked forever.

The olive oil rich dough is super easy to put together,  and, get this, my trusty tortilla press just happens to make the perfect size circles out of it, instantly and effortlessly.  Yasmeen comments that the dough is elastic and a bit hard to roll out…well, with the tortilla press it’s no problem at all.  I made the circles ahead, left them between their waxed paper, and they stayed flat and ready for me.  I’ve used this press to make perfect circles out of tortilla dough, pie crust dough, and now this bread-like dough.

If by now you aren’t completely convinced that you need one of these $14.95 gadgets, then, I don’t know, you must have issues.  I’m sorry about that, but you really need to get one of these things.

The lamb portion of these sfeeha is similar to my Lebanese Meatballs only without the egg and breadcrumb to bind it together.

I used a small scoop to portion out the meat filling onto the dough.  The dough gets pinched up into four little corners.  Very cute.  Kind of a tri-cornered hat meets Flying Nun shaped thingy.

 ~~~adapted from Wandering Spice 

Sfeeha: Middle Eastern Lamb and Pine Nut Pies with Tzatziki
Rate this recipe
16 ratings

Yield: makes 15-18 pastries

Sfeeha: Middle Eastern Lamb and Pine Nut Pies with Tzatziki

Ingredients

    Dough
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup water
    Filling
  • 1 lb lean ground lamb
  • 1/2 large onion, finely minced
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 heaping tsp Middle Eastern spice mix (or a 1/4 tsp each of cumin, clove, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, rosemary)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
    Sauce
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Persian cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, thinly sliced or chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. To make the dough: whisk the dry ingredients together.  Add the olive oil and the water, adding just enough water to make the dough come together.
  3. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it's smooth and elastic.  Put back in the bowl, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Break off ping-pong sized rounds of dough and either roll out into 3 to 4 inch circles, or let the tortilla press do it for you.
  5. To make the filling: mix all the ingredients in a bowl, taking care not to overwork the meat.
  6. Place one heaping tablespoon full of meat in the center of each circle of dough.  Lightly apply a little water to the outer rim of the circle of dough with a wet finger, and bring it up around the meat and pinch together four corners of the dough to make a square shape.  Squeeze the corners together so they stay closed.
  7. Place on a lightly greased or lined baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the dough is light golden brown.
  8. Serve hot with Tzatziki and more pomegranate molasses for drizzling on top.
  9. To make the sauce: mix everything together and taste to adjust the seasonings.  Keep refrigerated until needed.

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Mary
    October 14, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    These look so good! Can they be made ahead of time and refrigerate?

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 14, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      That should be fine, Mary, you can even freeze them.

      • Reply
        Mary
        October 16, 2018 at 7:04 am

        Thank you! Want to put these on the buffet for Thanksgiving. Have you ever made eggplant fattah?

        • Reply
          Sue
          October 17, 2018 at 7:56 am

          No, I haven’t, I need to google it, I bet I’d love it!

  • Reply
    grace
    August 18, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    seems to me like a lot of effort went into making these, and i’d say it paid off. what a DELICIOUS creation!

  • Reply
    Yasmeen
    August 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Sue! Your sfeeha look amazing. I’m so glad the recipe worked out for you, and that your daughter could have a reminiscent taste of the Middle East :) Really appreciate the shout out.

    I think your tortilla press idea is absolute GENIUS. I am absolutely trying that next time. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    August 16, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I am on the look out for a tortilla press, I can make perfect circles for these delicious little mouthfuls of Eastern promise.

  • Reply
    Susan Lindquist
    August 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    These look terrific! I love the way the little rounds are pinched into shape! So cute … bet the filling is just wonderful!

  • Reply
    Joanne
    August 16, 2012 at 9:54 am

    These are adorable! And that filling sounds like it’s just about stuffed with flavor!

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    August 16, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Sue this looks delightful – what a fun treat for your daughter! Love all these Middle Eastern flavors – could eat this stuff every day, it’s so fresh and vibrant!

  • Reply
    Dom at Belleau Kitchen
    August 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    plus that little gadget for pressing the dough is most covetable!

  • Reply
    Dom at Belleau Kitchen
    August 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Sue, these are absolutely stunning!… I love them and would fly you over to the UK just to make these for a party or function… they are not only wonderfully tasty looking but your photography as usual is second to none… I love it!!

  • Reply
    Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes
    August 16, 2012 at 3:17 am

    Sue, these look amazing!! I love tzatziki & hummus! Love that press too … I see one in my future!! Have great day!

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    August 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Wow! I don’t know what i am more impressed by- the dish itself or that cool little gadget! I need to get one of those! Seriously, though- these are the cutest little pockets of deliciousness I have ever seen!

  • Reply
    Amy
    August 16, 2012 at 12:33 am

    This looks so good, Sue! I’ve really, really been wanting to cook with lamb more often (from the zero amount I do now). Wish I could have this meal for dinner right now.

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    August 16, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I could eat a tray of these no problem. I love Middle Eastern food. I love anything with lamb and pine nuts are so buttery and rich. I have found the price of pine nuts ridiculous. I bought a small bag for my pesto and paid $11.00. I don’t remember them being so expensive.

  • Reply
    Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook
    August 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Fantastic dishes, it all looks so good. What a delicious meal to welcome your daughter home :)

  • Reply
    Mary
    August 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    This is one of the coolest looking foods ever! I love the presentation. All the flavors sound awesome as well, so the odds are good that I’ll be making this too. I’m sure you are in heaven with your daughter home now!

  • Reply
    Thyme (Sarah)
    August 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I was WAY too hungry to read this post. And…there is too much cuteness in the whole “pinching” of the those little crusty boats of goodness. I love pine nuts and the lamb…I can just smell the richness. Yep…probably going to have to make these… Glad to hear your daughter’s is safe and sound! Would love to hear about her adventures.

  • Reply
    Kate
    August 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Two words……
    FOOD ENVY!!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ saving room for dessert
    August 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    All of it sounds wonderful. Love Tzatziki and hummus – great news about your daughter coming home – safe and sound!

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