“Lebanese pastries are a must at any banquet, and home cooks are not forgiven if at least one is not served,” says Norma. Znoud el-sit, meaning “ladies’ arms”, are traditionally sweet pastries, but in this recipe Norma has stuffed them with the popular savoury filling, hashwi.
- 50 g (⅓ cup) pine nuts
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil, plus extra, to brush
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 250 g minced lamb or beef
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses, plus extra, to serve
- 15 sheets filo pastry, fresh or thawed
- ½ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 20 minutes
To make spice mixture, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Place pine nuts in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until browned, then remove from pan and set aside. Add oil to the pan with onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add meat and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 6 minutes or until browned. Add 1 tsp of the spice mixture and ¾ tsp salt and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in toasted pine nuts and pomegranate molasses. Set aside to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Lay a sheet of filo pastry on a clean work surface or chopping board, with a long edge facing you. Brush the half closest to you with oil, then fold in half lengthwise. Turn filo so that the short edge is facing you and brush with oil. Shape a heaped tablespoonful of cooled filling along the short edge closest to you, leaving a 2.5 cm border on sides and bottom. Roll short edge over filling to enclose, then fold in the 2 longer sides and roll up to form a cigar shape. Place seam side-down on prepared oven tray and repeat with remaining filo pastry and filling to make 15 rolls.
Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve pastries with extra pomegranate molasses.
Photography Mark Roper
Styling Berni Smithies
Food Preparation Norma Dakhoul