Cashew Phyllo Pie (Morocco)
This is an adaptation of Bastila, the famous flaky phyllo pastry of Morocco. Shredded squab or, in more recent years, chicken is traditionally used in this dish. Moroccans of more modest means use ground peanuts instead of the almonds usually called for in this dish. In the meatless variation, I use cashews, instead. I think you'll agree that the result is delicious and quite unusual.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 green onions with tops, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, minced
10 fresh cilantro springs, minced
1 cup (about 7 ounces) cashew pieces, finely chopped
8 phyllo sheets
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and cook the green onions over medium heat, stirring occasional, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the cinnamon, paprika, salt, and pepper. Add the egg mixture to the onions and scramble until the eggs are fairly dry. with a fork, stir in the parsley, cilantro, and cashews. Set aside to cool.
Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Place the phyllo sheets on a damp towel. Using a bowl about 11 inches in diameter as a template, cut through the 8 layers of phyllo. Place 4 rounds of phyllo, brushing each one with melted butter, so that they cover the bottom and overlap the sides of a well-greased 8-inch pie pan. Spread the egg mixture evenly over the phyllo. Fold the outside edges of phyllo over the filling. Cover with the 4 remaining sheets of phyllo, buttering each one as it is placed. Carefully fold the top sheets under the pie as you would a bedsheet. Generously brush the top with butter. Bake the bastila until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
The Vegetarian Table: North Africa
By Kitty Morse
Chronicle Books, 2000
Color photographs throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created December 2000
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