Please, sir,I want some moor

Pasteis marroquinos
Pastilla, also spelt Bastilla is a savoury-sweet Moroccan meat pie made by filling a thin flaky pastry shell with a mixture of tender braised poultry, eggs, and fried almonds. At first glance, a pastilla could easily be mistaken for a dessert, since it’s generously dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon, but the sweet crispy exterior belies the spicy, savoury mixture on the inside. Traditionally made with squab ( pigeon) and warka pastry, I’ve adapted these pastillas with ingredients that are more readily available and easier to work with.I made two variations on the theme - chicken with Ras -al hanout cous cous and a second version with spicy minced beef and vegetables."Warka is for the obsessed and the mad".So I heeded this advice and simplified matters by opting not for phyllo which would be the next best thing,but for ready rolled and pre-cut pastry discs.
Every refrigerator should be permanently stocked with a packet of these.I really don´t know what I did before I discovered these, but believe me for recipes like this pies are made in minutes.
As you bite into a crisp buttery pastilla, the sugar and cinnamon activates your sweet taste receptors, but the sweetness quickly fades as the savoury filling hits your tongue. The tender chicken and onions flood your mouth with an umami rich burst of flavour that carries with it, notes of ginger, turmeric and cardamom and whatever other spices you include. It´s quite amazing how magnificent these humble pastries can be, and they leave your guests crying out for moor.

Pasteis marroquinos
makes 16

2 soup spoons of olive oil
1 onion chopped
450g minced meat( preferably lamb)
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 heaped teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 cup of meat stock
1 soup spoon regular flour
1 cup frozen peas
a small assortment of vegetables diced very small,carrots new potatoes
2 soup spoons chopped coriander leaves
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 heaped soup spoon tomato purée
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium flame.Cook the vegetables and onion for about 10 minutes,until soft and transparent but not browned.Add the meat and cook stirring constantly until browned all over. Add the crushed garlic and the spices.Mix in well and cook for another minute.Add the flour mixing it in well and cook for another minute,Stir in the tomato purée followed by the meat stock and season with salt and pepper.Cover with a lid and lower the heat.Cook for 10 minutes or until the mixture is thickened and has formed a paste.Add the peas and cook on a simmer for 5 more minutes or until peas are tender.Mix in the coriander leaves and allow to cool.
Divide the mixture in teaspoonfuls between the discs. brush the edges of the discs with beaten egg and fold over the pastry disc pinching it together to seal in a crescent shaped parcel.Brush the pastillas lightly all over with beaten egg and transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and store in the refrigerator till ready to use.Heat oven to 200c and cook the pastillas for around 20 minutes or until golden.
Serve with yoghurt cucumber and mint raita.
For the chicken variation:Dry fry a small onion in a pan with a soup sponn of Ras al hanout
until fragrant then stir in  a soup spoon of olive oil follwed by 65g cous cous and 125ml of hot vegetable stock.Leave for 5 minutes then fluff up with a fork.Mix in some shredded chicken, quail or duck meat and fill the pastillas as above.


  1. Sound lovely.I wonder if the sweet/savoury mix was originally a method of preserving the meat?
    Reminded me of our sweet mince pies which back in the day would have contained meat:)
    Happy New Year BTW!


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