My grandmother Téta Nabiha, used to make us these dainty turnovers (called sambusek) on a regular basis, stuffed with ground meat. Her nimble little hands folding the lower fold over, pinching them delicately and oh so evenly. She’d first moisten the flour with ghee (called samneh) then add water and knead it briefly till smooth. These sambusek were then fried in an oil bath. I prefer to bake them. Less messy!
INGREDIENTS: 2 dozen
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 1 tsp. of baking powder
- ½ cup oil or ghee or clarified butter
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 egg beaten with a fork
- 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- 2 1/2 cups of grated white cheese (mozzarella or akkawi or similar)
- 1/2 cup of chopped parsley or other herb like dill
- 2 egg whites
- ½ tsp. white pepper or paprika
- ½ tsp. allspice
- Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixer bowl. Mix to combine. Add the oil in a thin stream while stirring until the oil is no longer visible. Add the water gradually till it is no longer sticky; flour lightly and cover with a damp towel for 30 minutes.
- Combine the filling ingredients; cover, and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease your work counter. Roll the dough until it is very thin and cut into 3 or 4” circles. Place one tablespoon of filling in each round, fold over into a half-moon shape, pinching the fold, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden and dry. Serve immediately.
NOTE: You can freeze these pastries prior to baking for 3 weeks.
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