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Sfeeha-Palestinian Meat Pie

Sfeeha yafawiyeh (traditional Palestinian pinwheel meat pie)

Sfeeha Yafawiyeh (Palestinian meat pie pinwheel). Sfeeha is one of my favorite Middle Eastern appetizers. I could eat several in a sitting dipped in some yogurt, or an arugula sumac salad, on the side. The sfeeha yafawiyeh (derived from the city of Yaffa/Jaffa) is not the easiest of sfeeha to make because of its’ super thin dough (a cross between filo dough and Austrian strudel) and hard to form pinwheel shape. I love the crisp and layered texture and taste of the yafawiyeh, and since they’re old school, and not readily available, I decided to make my own. I kind of took a sneaky short cut and made mine with filo dough, and instead of the more traditional lamb mince, I stuffed mine with ground beef. The trick to getting the filo dough to work with you, and not against you, is to lightly brush each layer with a mixture of egg, yogurt and melted butter, making the dough more malleable and less brittle. Still…it was slightly more challenging to make than regular sfeeha. I had to work fast, not put too much of the egg mixture to avoid sogginess, and watch out for tears, as I rolled the sfeeha into tight pinwheel bundles. The beef filling was a delicious mix of onions sautéed in some good Palestinian extra virgin olive oil, lots of chopped parsley and a good dose of warm spices. Fresh out of the oven, in all its’ flakey, crispy, glory, the yafawiye sfeeha, was well worth the effort, and even though I could probably write a love poem to ALL SFEEHAS out there, the yaffawiye remains hands down my favorite sfeeha.

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