The July daring Baker’s Challenge was brought to us by Manal from Manal’s Bites. She introduced us to an authentic Palestinian dish from Jaffa that is served as a main meal along with a bowl of soup of salad. The “Yafawi Sfeeha” or also known as “Milwayeh” which means twisted, is crispy yet tender and full of flavor.
This month we were introduced to an authentic filled pastry from Palestine by our host Manal from Manal’s Bites. The tender dough is stretched thinly with ghee then filled, rolled and baked to produce delicious savoury or sweet pastries. First I tackled the meat filling using beef however the recipe require 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses. Checking out the price in the store I found a bottle of pomegranate molasses retailed at AUD$17.00! Eeeeekkkk! But I did find a bottle of pomegranate juice for AUD$4.00 at the supermarket so with the juice in hand I googled and produced my own pomegranate molasses. I’m not sure if I could detect the flavour in the finished pastries but just the look of the sticky, shiny molasses made me feel good!
Next I made Sweet Walnut Sfeeha dusted with sugar. I think they should have been dunked in the sugar syrup because they were a bit dry. Nice with a cup of tea, though!
Many thanks to our host, Manal and please check out more Yafawi Sfeeha here at Daring Bakers’!
Pomagranate Molasses (based on this recipe from Tori Avey)
- 2 cups pure 100% pomegranate juice (bottled or fresh)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 40mls freshly squeezed lemon juice
Heat up over medium until the sauce begins to simmer lightly. Stir to dissolve sugar. Allow the liquid to simmer very lightly for 40 – 60 minutes, stirring every regularly, until the liquid reduces by 75%.
The molasses will be ready when it has a light syrupy consistency and coats the back of a spoon. Don’t let it thicken too much, or it will harden into toffee when it cools.
Remove from heat. The syrup will continue to thicken as it cools.
After the syrup cools completely, store it in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
Isn’t it gorgeous?
Servings: 15-18 pieces
To make the dough:
3 cups (750 ml) (420 gm) (15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, scoop flour using cup measure then level
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) sugar
3 tablespoons (45 ml) powdered milk (you can substitute this with warm milk, you will need less water if using milk)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil
About 1 cup (250 ml) warm water for kneading
Melted ghee (or olive oil) to stretch the dough (ghee gives a great texture and flavor).
1.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 min on a stand-up mixer or 12 min by hand. you might need more depending on where you live and the kind of flour you are using).
2.Form the dough into small golf-ball-sized balls. Place on a baking sheet that is very well greased with ghee or olive oil and pour some more (oil or ghee) over dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for few hours at least (or overnight).
3.Prepare filling in the meantime.
1 pound (500 grams) ground beef, lamb or a mix of both
1 medium onion, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Middle Eastern 7 spice blend ( recipe here) or you can just use ½ teaspoon all-spice and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.)
1 teaspoon sumaq (A Middle Eastern deep red colored and sour flavored spice) (or substitute with ¾ teaspoon lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon pepper)
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (see my homemade molasses above)
½ cup (120 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) toasted pine nuts (optional)
In a skillet over medium heat, cook meat until no longer pink and water has evaporated, add onion and cook till it becomes tender (around 3 minutes). Season the mixture and add spices; it will be very fragrant now. Remove off heat and add sumaq and pomegranate molasses. Add toasted pine nuts if using. Let the filling cool completely before stuffing Sfeeha
After you have your filling ready, use some of the ghee to brush a round tray (the surface that you will be working on). Take one piece of dough and using your hands, gently start spreading it as thinly and evenly as possible.
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.
Then taking one end start rolling the rope towards the inside in a spiral shape
Put some more ghee on your baking sheet and place the done Sfeeha onto the baking sheet. Continue making the rest of your Sfeeha using ghee to keep it nice and moist.
Preheat oven to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 and bake Sfeeha for 15-20 minutes till golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature with a bowl of soup during winter or a salad and Greek yogurt in summer time.
Sweet Walnut Sfeeha
2 cups (500 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) walnuts, coarsely chopped, (you can use any sort of nut you wish)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ tablespoon orange blossom water
½ tablespoon rose water
Mix all ingredients together and your filling is done.
For serving: Powdered sugar or sugar syrup
2 cups (500 ml) (400 gm) (14 oz) sugar
1½ cup (375 ml) water
Juice of half a lemon
½ tablespoon orange blossom water (optional)
Mix sugar and water over high heat in a stainless steel pot. Don’t stir. Once it comes to a boil stir with a wooden spoon to ensure all sugar is dissolved. Add lemon juice and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Remove off heat and add orange blossom water if using.
Note: Once you have the sweet ones baked and hot pour some cold sugar syrup over them or let them cool off and dust with powdered sugar..
I dusted mine with powdered sugar.