I was able to participate fully in the Daring Baker's Challenge this month and found it to be an interesting adventure into Palestinian food.
Manal, the Baker who brought us this challenge, says that lunch is the main meal in that part of the world and that these filled little spiral meat pies are a staple. (Yafawi Sfeeha translated means meat pies from Java.)
I can tell it takes an experienced hand to make this. After mixing up the fairly straightforward dough, it is divided into golf ball-sized balls and left to rest for awhile.
After resting, you take one of the balls and spread it as thinly as you can - see-through thin - and begin making the yafawi sfeeha.
Here are the basic steps: spread the dough thinly into a rectangle, fold up the bottom and fold down the top, then spread your filling in a horizontal line. Carefully roll it up, then create a spiral:
Looks good so far, right? Well, I obviously didn't get the dough thin enough, even though the filling was almost bursting through the sides.
I also waited and waited and waited (you get the gist) for them to turn to a "golden brown" and they didn't seem to think it was necessary to do so.
So I baked them a little longer and after realizing the bottoms were definitely browning, but the tops weren't, took them out.
Mine ended up looking a little like Jabba the Hutt, but tasting a better than that. Since I didn't have Middle Eastern 7 spice blend, sumaq or pomegranate molasses, I created a Tex-Mex cheesy beef filling.
They Yafawi Sfeeha were actually OK when served with sour cream and guacamole, but either I overworked the dough or cooked them too long (or both) and the pastry was dry and thick.
Most of the other Daring Bakers' photos showed thin and flaky pastries beautifully displayed, bursting with filling, so I'm sure there was a misstep on my part somewhere along the line. You've really got to get that dough stretched very, very thinly and keep it moist with the oil (or ghee*)!
I like to do these challenges - they really are very challenging and the hosts put in so much time putting together the special recipe, all the steps, and beautiful photos! One day I'll actually succeed at one of the challenges and give myself a big pat on the back!
- 3 C. all-purpose flour (use a cup measure, then level with a knife)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 3 tbsp. powdered milk
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- About 1 C. warm water for kneading
- Melted ghee (or olive oil) to stretch the dough
- Filling of your choice (I used a beef, taco seasoning, cheese filling)
- Mix flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk and vegetable oil, then start adding the warm water until you get a tender and slightly sticky dough. Kneading will take about 8 minutes on a stand-up mixer or 12 minutes by hand.
- Form the dough into small golf-ball-sized balls. Place on a very well-greased baking sheet and pour some more oil (or ghee) over dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for a few hours at least (or overnight).
- Prepare your preferred filling in the meantime.
- After you have your filling ready, use some of the ghee or oil to brush a round tray . Take one piece of dough and using your hands, gently start spreading it as thinly and evenly as possible. (see-through thin)
- Once that is done, fold the upper side to the middle, then fold the opposite side to the middle as well. Spread your filling in a long line across the dough.
- Roll like a long tight rope, making sure that it is tight enough to ensure no filling escapes. Take one end and start rolling the rope into a spiral shape. Put some more ghee or oil on your baking sheet and place the completed Sfeeha onto it. Continue with each spiral, keeping enough oil on it to keep it nice and moist.
- Preheat oven to moderately hot (400 degrees) and bake for 15-20 minutes
until golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature with a bowl of soup or
salad and Greek yogurt.
Tips and Stuff:
Ghee is the preferred/recommended oil to use. *Ghee = clarified butter, but with the solids browned and kept in the mix.
I made a half-recipe and that may have been my problem. I recommend starting with the exact recipe, using ghee, and not overworking the dough. Definitely go to manalbites.com to see it step-by-step done correctly!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 335mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g
Nutrition Values are Approximate