-- a savoury Moroccan pie
1 hour 45 minutes (1 hr prep, 45 min cooking)
Morocco, this dish is traditionally made with pigeon meat but chicken
works equally well. The flaky layers of pastry, tender meat and sugar-cinnamon
topping make a delightful combination. If you want to make this for a
dinner party, just prepare it ahead of time, then freeze until a few hours
before you need to serve it.
- 1215 sheets
- salt and pepper
- 3 lbs chicken pieces
- 3 onions, finely
- 1 cup vegetable
oil or butter , melted
- 1 tablespoon fresh
coriander, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 1/4 teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon ground
- 1 pinch saffron,
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 2 cups water (or
- 12 ounces blanched
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 8 eggs, beaten
- icing sugar (to
- cinnamon (to garnish)
2 hours before starting, remove the phyllo dough from the freezer
but keep covered.
and pepper the chicken. Brown in its own juices in a heavy skillet.
Remove to a plate.
the onions and parsley to the skillet along with 2 tbsp vegetable
oil or margarine. Sauté until golden, stirring frequently.
chicken to the skillet and add coriander, turmeric, 1 teaspoon cinnamon,
ginger, saffron in water, allspice, and 2 cups water or more if you
think it is needed. Bring to a slow boil then cover and simmer about
45 minutes, or until the chicken is done.
sauté the almonds in 4 tbsp oil until brown and remove to dry
on paper towels. When cool and dry, chop the almonds coarsely and
combine with the sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
you are going to cook the pastilla immediately, preheat oven to 375
chicken is done, remove from pot and let cool. If you wish, skim off
some of the fat from the sauce and leave sauce over small flame to
reduce the stock to about 1 1/2 cups.
the chicken is cool, debone it and, using your fingers, break it into
small chunks, about 1/4 inch each. Place on a plate.
the sauce is reduced, slowly add the beaten eggs and stir for a minute
or two until eggs become custardlike. Do not let the sauce become
can assemble the pie several ways, using either a round quiche pan
or a 9 X 13-inch dish. Brush oil on the bottom of either pan you use.
For the rectangular method: place 1 filo sheet in the pan and
brush with oil. Repeat with 5 more sheets. Over them, spread 1/2 the
nuts, 1/2 the egg mixture, all the chicken the remaining egg mixture,
and the remaining nuts. Cover with 5-6 sheets of filo, again brushing
with oil each time. Fold over any loose ends and brush the tops with
oil.Take a last leaf of filo, fold under so that it neatly covers
the pie, and brush with oil.
the circular method:
place one sheet of filo in the middle of the quiche pan. Brush with
oil and then repeat with 5 more filo sheets, moving thepan a bit
so that the filo fans the entire pan. Fold 2 pieces of filo and
place in center. In a circle 9 inches in diameter, sprinkle 1/2
the almonds on top, then 1/2 the egg mixture, all the chicken, the
remaining egg mixture and finally the remaining almonds. Cover with
the extended edges of the 6 filo sheets, brushing the edges first.
Seal down, then place 2 more sheets of filo on top. Fold over and
seal underneath, so that an enclosed circular crust is formed.
Bake the pie 30-45 minutes, until top is evenly browned.
ready to serve, sprinkle the top with confectioners' sugar and cinnamon,
almonds, or both, in crisscross fashion over the entire pastilla.
preparing in advance, make up the pie, then layer with aluminum
foil and freeze.
a few hours before cooking and cook as normal. You may need to bake
it a bit longer if cooking from frozen.