Sfeeha: Middle Eastern Lamb and Pine Nut Pies with Tzatziki

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 

2.96 from 41 votes

Sfeeha: Middle Eastern Lamb and Pine Nut Pies with Tzatziki

Course Appetizer, Middle Eastern
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Yield 18
Author Sue Moran



  • 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


  • 1 lb lean ground lamb
  • 1/2 large onion finely minced
  • 1 to mato 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


  • 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


  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • To make the filling: mix all the ingredients in a bowl, taking care not to overwork the meat.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Serve hot with Tzatziki and more pomegranate molasses for drizzling on top.
  • To make the sauce: mix everything together and taste to adjust the seasonings.  Keep refrigerated until needed.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

You Might Also Like


    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    February 21, 2020 at 6:54 am

    5 stars
    Fantastic dough & the shapes are just so cute & look very impressive and cheffy. I gave them a South African ‘twist’ by making a ‘Bobotie’ filling, which is also made with ground/minced meat. It tasted fabulous…. i think the dough is the star if the show! T

    • Reply
      February 21, 2020 at 8:18 am

      Sounds delish!

  • Reply
    October 18, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Can I use pastry puff sheets instead of making the dough

    • Reply
      October 18, 2019 at 9:50 am

      You could, although this dough is more of a pie dough, so be aware that puff pastry would ‘puff’ pretty dramatically. You might also try refrigerated pie dough.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2018 at 1:28 pm

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

    • Reply
      October 14, 2018 at 2:46 pm

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

      • Reply
        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
          October 17, 2018 at 7:56 am

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

  • Reply
    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
    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
    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!

1 2

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!

Grab my latest e-book

for free!

Subscribe to get first dibs on all my new recipes, plus extra subscriber only benefits!


You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

You have Successfully Subscribed!