Though neither of us were familiar with the particular dish on hand for this month's challenge, we knew from the components that we would (likely) be in for a tasty treat. The yafawi sfeeha -- also known as "meat pies from Jaffa" in Palestine -- are traditionally made with lamb, but we opted for a vegetarian savory version with feta cheese.
I mixed up the dough in the stand mixer the day before, and left the dough to chill in the refrigerator overnight. I took the tray out the next morning, so the dough was very relaxed and at room temperature when Erica came over.
As you can see, it was super easy to work with -- we essentially just pushed it out into very thin circles. No rolling or tossing of any kind was required. Lesson learned on the development of gluten, perhaps?
Next we mixed up some fresh feta cheese, egg, parsley and mint for our filling. We spread this onto the thin dough envelopes, and then rolled them up into pinwheels.
We popped them in the oven for a brief stint, waiting in anticipation as the kitchen started to smell delicious.
These were a real treat. We started by serving just one a person, but by the end Erica and our husbands had polished off all twelve. Well done. I can imagine that they would be quite good with lamb or half lamb, half cheese, but these were awesome on their own.
The July Daring Bakers’ Challenge was brought to us by Manal from Manal’s Bites. She introduced us to an authentic Palestinian dish from Java that is served as a main meal along with a bowl of soup or a salad. The “Yafawi Sfeeha” or also known as “Milwayeh” which means twisted, is crispy yet tender and full of flavor.
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.
4. 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.
5. Once that is done fold the upper side to the middle, then fold the opposite side to the middle as well.
6. 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 (see photo).
7. 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.
8. 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.
Ingredients: 3-4 cups Nabulsi cheese, crumbled (You can use feta or Halloumi if you like but you need a reasonably hard and salty white cheese) ½ cup Italian parsley, minced (you can use fresh mint or fresh za’tar) 1 egg, beaten Black pepper
Directions: Mix ingredients and your cheese filling is ready.