Shane restyles the Lebanese version of a meat pie into a delicious street-food delicacy. Don’t worry if you don’t get the sfihas perfectly shaped – this is a dish that is all about the eating, not the presentation.
- 20 mint leaves
- 1 lemon, halved
- salt, to serve
- red Aleppo pepper (see Note), to serve
- 7 g sachet dry yeast
- 200 ml lukewarm water
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 350 g baker’s flour (see Note)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 400 g boneless lamb leg, cut into 5 cm pieces
- 100 g pumpkin, peeled, roughly chopped
- ½ red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp red Aleppo pepper (see Note)
- 1 tsp black Aleppo pepper (see Note)
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp sabaht baharat (Lebanese seven spice) (see Note)
- salt and black pepper
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.
To make the dough, combine the yeast, water, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the flour to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mixing on low speed, gradually add the yeast and water mixture, along with the oil. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 5–7 minutes or until smooth. Roll 25 g portions of the dough into balls and place on a floured tray. Cover and stand to prove in a warm place for 20–30 minutes or until doubled in size.
To make the dough by hand, combine the ingredients as above in a mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10–15 minutes or until smooth.
To make the sfiha filling, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and season. Mix to combine, then pass through a mincer using a medium-grade grinding disk. Briefly mix the ground sfiha filling to ensure all the ingredients are well distributed. Refrigerate until required.
On a lightly floured work surface, flatten each ball of dough with your hand. Then, using a rolling pin, roll into a 9 cm round, about 2 mm thick. Spoon 1 tbsp of the filling into the middle of the dough and lightly flatten. Pinch the dough together around the base of the filling on opposite sides, then repeat on the remaining two sides. You should end up with a four-pointed square pocket with filling exposed in the centre.
Preheat the oven and a pizza stone to 220°C. Cook the sfihas directly on the pizza stone for 4–6 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
Remove the sfihas from the oven and push a mint leaf into the centre of each one. Squeeze over lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and Aleppo pepper. Serve immediately.
• Aleppo pepper is a mild variety of dried and ground capsicum available in Middle Eastern delicatessens. In a pinch, combine 1 tbsp mild paprika with 1 tsp cayenne powder instead.
• Baker’s flour has a higher percentage of protein than regular white flour, making it perfect for bread and pizza dough. Most supermarkets sell baker’s flour.
• Sabaht baharat is a blend of spices often referred to as Lebanese seven spice or simply baharat. You will find baharat in Middle Eastern grocery stores and at quality spice merchants.