Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sweet and Savory: Bastilla Pie

Warm cinnamon, turmeric-spiced eggs, crushed almond and a heaping dose of tender chicken covered by layers of phyllo pastry with a touch of snowy sugar

a sweet and savory concoction......

Getting ready to move out of my place.... and venture into a new domain.... i found a box of phyllo pastry hiding at the corner of my freezer.........a box of delicate feathery sheets..........

My first bite into a Bastilla pie was at a place called Bulter's Pantry on Queen West, Toronto a few years ago.....and the sweet and savory taste never left my mind ever since....

I am sure a lot of you are aware of the delicate nature of phyllo pastry..... and that is why it took me so long to finally attempt to recreate this fond memory of mine

There are a lot of Bastilla or Basteeya pie recipes out there.....from few simple ingredients to spices intensive creations, but a few key ingredients are essential:
chicken, onion, garlic, almonds, cinnamon, turmeric, eggs, ginger, sugar
did not follow one particular recipe but an adaptation of much......my pie fits nicely in my cast iron skillet


For the chicken

· 1 medium size chicken (roasted with salt and pepper)

· 8 tbsp. butter, sliced

· 2 onions, grated

· 1 tsp. ground ginger

· 1/2 tsp. turmeric

· 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon

· a pinch of nutmeg

· 1 bay leaf

· salt and pepper

· 2 tbsp. sugar

For the Almonds

· 1 cup toasted almonds

· 4 tbsp. sugar

· 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

For the Eggs

· 4 eggs, beaten

· 1/2 cup reserved chicken sauce

For the pie

· 1 package phyllo pastry

· melted butter

· 1/2 cup powdered sugar

· 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon


Prepare the chicken

Pull off and shred the meat of roasted chicken (can save rack for stock), and set side.

Saute onions with butter until soft and caramelized.

Add ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper and salt to onion mixture, mix well and sautee together for 5 minutes.

Add the water, chicken, bay leaf and nutmeg to the mixture and bring it to a boil and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from the pot. Add sugar, mix and set aside.

Save the simmering liquid for the eggs.

Prepare the almonds

Put toasted almonds, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and grind.

Prepare the eggs

Warm the simmering liquid over low heat. Bring it to a slow boil and slowly add the eggs, stirring constantly. Cook until they have a scrambled egg consistency. Drain any extra liquid and let cool.

Assemble the pie

Butter cast-iron pan and place 4 or 5 phyllo sheets on it. Brush with melted butter, spread a thin layer of chicken and cover with 2 or 3 phyllo sheets. Brush phyllo sheets with butter, spread a thin layer of almonds, cover with another couple of sheets of phyllo, butter and spread a layer of eggs. Repeat with other layers of chicken/almonds/egg/ until all the fillings are used up. Cover with several sheets of phyllo dough and tug them into the bottom of the pie, encasing the whole thing. Score the top of the pie into diamond shape design and sprinkle the pie with some water (prevent too much puffing of pastry)

Heat the oven to 425F and put the pie inside (no preheating required). Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until golden. Brush with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

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