Sephardi aubergine pies

Ross Burden rustles up pukkah pies with a mouth-watering filling of aubergine, feta and thyme tucked inside crisp olive oil pastry.
By Ross Burden
Sephardi aubergine pies
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

main

  • 125 ml olive oil
  • 50 ml warm water
  • 250 g plain flour

For the filling

  • 500 g aubergines
  • 100 g feta cheese
  • 100 g freshly grated cheese, such as Emmenthal or Lancashire
  • 1/2 tsp za'atar spice mix, or thyme leaves

For the glaze

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp parmesan
  • 3 tsp sesame seeds

Tips and Suggestions

If you don`t have a gas hob, you can cook the aubergines until they have blackened in a hot oven.

Zata'ar is the Arabic name for wild thyme. It can be bought as a mixture of wild thyme and Sumac, and is usually (but not always) combined with toasted sesame seeds.

Sephardi cooking is the cooking style favoured by Mediterranean and Oriental Jewish communities. It's aromatic, colourful, and often incorporates ingredients such as flavourful seeds, resins, pods, petals, pistils and flower waters.

The cooking styles of Shephardi Jews is inspired from across the world, especially the Middle East.

Method

1. Mix together the olive oil and water and slowly add the flour, beating with a wooden spoon, as you would for choux pastry until the mixture forms a soft dough. Knead lightly and reserve.

2. Set the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Pierce the aubergine skin all over using a fork, and grill over a gas ring, turning, until blackened (see cook's notes). Peel the aubergine under slowly running water. Drain and chop the flesh.

3. Mix the cheeses, aubergine and zata'ar spice together and season with black pepper.

4. The mixture will make one large pie or 12 small pasties. For the pasties, roll out 12 circles, each 3mm thick and 10cm wide. Place a tablespoon of mixture in the middle of each circle and bring the four corners into the centre to form a tricorn shape. For the large pie, simply roll the pastry out to form a large circle and place the filling over one half. Fold the pastry over as if you were making a large calzone.

5. Brush with beaten egg to glaze and sprinkle with the Parmesan and sesame seeds.

6. Bake the pasties for 20 minutes, the large pie should take about 30 minutes.

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