Pastilla (Moroccan Pigeon Pie)

Enjoy a taste of Moroccan cuisine with Paul Bloxham's recipe for a traditional, richly spiced, distinctively flavoured pigeon pie
By Paul Bloxham
Pastilla (Moroccan Pigeon Pie)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6 as a starter or 4 as a main course
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes plus cooling
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

main

  • 200 g butter, melted
  • 1 onion, thinly chopped
  • 3 pigeons, boned and finely diced
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
  • 200g whole blanched almonds
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 6 sheets of filo pastry
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and chopped
  • green salad, to serve

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

2. Heat a tablespoon of melted butter in a deep, heavy-based frying pan.

3. Add in the onion and fry gently for 2-3 minutes until translucent.

4. Add in the diced pigeon and fry, stirring, until the pigeon is browned on all sides, around 3 minutes.

5. Add in just enough water to barely cover the pigeon, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

6. Mix in the egg yolks, adding them one at a time and stirring as you do.

7. Cook, stirring, until the egg sauce coats the back of a spoon.

8. Stir in the salt, pepper, ½ tsp of cinnamon, parsley and coriander and mix together well. Set aside.

9. Heat a tablespoon of melted butter in a small frying pan. Add in the almonds and fry, stirring, until golden brown, around 5 minutes.

10. Cool the fried almonds then grind coarsely in a pestle and mortar or food processor.

11. Mix together 1 tsp cinnamon with 1 tbsp icing sugar, then mix thoroughly with the ground almonds.

12. Layer 4 sheets of filo pastry in a lightly greased, shallow, non-stick 20cm round pie tin, allowing the pastry edges to hang over the sides of the tin and lightly brushing each filo sheet with melted butter as you layer it.

13. Spoon the pigeon mixture into the filo case, then top with the almond mixture and a layer of chopped hard-boiled eggs.

14. Fold in the over-lapping edges of the filo pastry over the filling and brush the filo lightly with melted butter.

15. Lay 2 sheets of filo over the surface, gently tucking them in under the base and cutting off any excess.

16. Brush the surface with melted butter and pour any remaining butter around the edges of the pie.

17. Bake for 30 minutes, then carefully invert the pie onto a baking sheet.

18. Bake the inverted pie for a further 20 minutes, then carefully turn it over on the baking sheet.

19. Bake the pie for a further 10 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden brown.

20. Mix together the remaining cinnamon and icing sugar and sprinkle evenly over the surface of the pie.

21. Meanwhile, heat a metal skewer until it is red-hot. Use the hot skewer to brand a lattice pattern into the icing sugar mixture on the surface of the pie.

22. Serve with a crisp green salad.

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