Mr. Haddad’s Secret Recipe for Cheese Sambosic
To make around 15
These are very similar to the Levantine pastries in the Snackistan book, but slightly softer, with a wonderfully moreish cheese filling.
Mr. Haddad is our Lebanese baker; his company, Dina Foods, is one of the best known producers of sweet and savoury pastries and bread in South East England. Trouble is, he cooks for about five thousand people a day, and he is very busy, so eliciting a recipe from him requires patience, and a calculator to downscale the thing for domestic use. We also had to blackmail his (very lovely company accountant) wife by bringing our account up to date (not that it is ever very much behind) before she would allow us to have the recipe. The things you have to do to write a book.
For the dough:
7g sachet dried yeast (or use about 12g fresh)
pinch of sugar
150ml lukewarm water
500g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
100g margarine, softened
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
For the filling:
200g feta cheese
200g ricotta cheese
1 bunch spring onions, washed and finely chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
½ bunch fresh coriander, washed and chopped
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons corn flour
juice + zest of half a lemon
For the glaze:
1 tablespoon milk
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and put it aside for ten minutes. Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Now add the yeast water combo, mixing with a wooden spoon: once the ingredients come together, add the margarine, working it in with your hands. Form the dough into a ball, and roll it in a little oil to keep it moist. Cover it with a damp cloth and leave somewhere warm for a couple of hours to prove.
Assemble the filling by crumbling the cheese and then mixing in all the other ingredients together with a wooden spoon. Set aside until ready.
When the two hours are up, knead the dough on a floured surface for a good five minutes, and then divide it into fifteen balls. Leave it to rise for a further quarter of an hour, then pull them into small flat rounds with your hands and spread them out on one or two oiled baking trays. Spoon a little of the cheese mixture on to one half of each of the pastry circles, and then fold the other half over, crimping the dough with wet hands to seal it. Beat the egg with the milk and use a pastry brush or piece of kitchen paper to glaze the pastries.
Heat your oven to gas mark 5 (200˚C), and when it is hot cook the sambosic for 15-20 minutes, or until they are lightly browned. These will keep in the fridge for several days, and can be eaten hot or cold. This bread/pastry is kinda soft, and so can also be warmed in a microwave.