A Moroccan Delicacy: B’Stilla

A Monday Morning Cooking Club Work In Progress: Moroccan Flaky Pies

A Monday Morning Cooking Club Work In Progress: Moroccan Flaky Pies

My first taste of b’stilla was at a cooking class by talented Australian (of Lebanese descent) chef Greg Malouf. I remember the palm-sized flaky filo pie stuffed with spiced pigeon and toasted almonds, dredged with icing sugar and cinnamon. Crisp and soft, savoury, spiced and sweet, all at once. Oh what a joy! Call it what you will – bastilla – bisteeya – pastilla – it is a small round hand made filo pastry pie traditionally filled with spiced (think cinnamon, cumin, ginger, allspice and more) squab or pigeon. Toasted flaked almonds are often inside.  Or quail, chicken and rabbit. The most intriguing and unusual part of the pie is that it is sprinkled with icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) and ground cinnamon. A sweet touch on a savoury pie. Yum!

My next and equally memorable b’stilla experience was on a recent trip to gorgeous Marrakech in Morocco where we found ourselves (after our first b’stilla) choosing restaurants based on whether or not they served b’stilla.  We had an incredible one at Al Fassa (exotic, romantic setting sadly equals bad light, so no photo!) and a really great one at The Restaurant at the stunning, jaw-dropping Amanjena (see the ‘THEIRS’ pic). We just may have gone back for seconds and thirds.

I tried my hand at them this week, with limited success. Mine look ok. And they taste OK, but I think it is a work in progress. The recipe I found calls for dicing the chicken before cooking in spices. I’m not mad about the filling made that way – I prefer the chicken to be cooked first and then shredded or torn. Next time I will be trying this recipe from Greg Malouf as I know his recipes are always reliable in the hope I may still be able to master the b’stilla: B’Stilla with Rabbit. The ‘HIS’ photo below is taken from Greg’s recipe post and looks just beautiful with the stencilled sugared hand. Sigh…

It’s Let’s Lunch (#LetsLunch) time – the twitter-based virtual lunch club where anyone interested can join this monthly ‘lunch date’. A topic is posted at the beginning of the month, everyone taking a turn, and all recipes are posted on the same day by this random and fascinating group of food bloggers, writers and people who just love cooking from all around the world. All the wonderful posts from the other #letslunchers will appear at the bottom of this post in a couple of days.

This month’s topic (thanks Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan is a dish “that you learned to love from traveling somewhere and maybe even learned to make it while on vacay”.

 

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HIS

 

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THEIRS
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MINE

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8 Comments

  1. Annabelle

    This month’s round has been so interesting — great-looking dishes I’ve never heard of! I would definitely eat that, although I think the odds of my being in Morocco any time soon are low.

  2. [email protected]

    Lovely! There is a modern take on this at Mourad (Mourad Lahlou’s new restaurant in San Francisco) which I like even more than the traditional. You should try it next time you visit SF!

  3. Margaret

    I think yours looks just fine. Isn’t baking always a work in progress?? I will have to try this one.

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Happy not-quite-a-long-weekend-but-with-long-weekend-feels everyone! And what a blessing that the sun is shining. We hope to see lots of pics of BBQs and lamingtons. When inspiration grabs you and you find yourself in a baking mood, here is our delicious lamington recipe, there's still time to whip up a batch. What's cooking at your place this weekend? (And we are indebted to Railea Don for this wonderful iconic recipe ❤️}

Ingredients
Cake
125 grams butter (unsalted)
185 grams Caster (Superfine) Sugar
2 eggs
250 grams Self-Raising (Self-Rising) flour (1 2/3 cups)
1/2 cup milk or fresh orange juice
Icing
500 grams icing (confectioners) sugar
3 tablespoons best quality cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon butter (unsalted)
1 cup hot water
250 grams shredded or desiccated coconut

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 28 x 19 x 4 cm lamington tin.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Gradually add the flour, alternating with the milk or orange juice.

Mix together well, then pour the mixture evenly into the prepared tin.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely.
Cut the cake into 4 cm squares, trimming the edges if necessary.

Mix the icing sugar and cocoa together in a bowl.

Put the butter into the hot water to melt, and mix into the icing sugar mixture until thick and smooth.

Drop the cake squares into the chocolate, ensuring the cake is fully covered, then remove very quickly. Drain the cake on a wire rack for a few seconds. Using a large cooking fork, roll in the coconut.
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#lamongtons #australiaday #australiaday2021 #australiansummer #dessert #desserts #chocolatedesserts #bakinginspo #cookinginspo #chocolate #chocolatelover
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