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Little lamb pies with yoghurt cheese & pomegranate

Makes 12

These little pies from Baalbeck are renowned across Lebanon.

Don’t buy lamb mince from the supermarket for this recipe as it’s far too fatty. You don’t want the lamb to be too lean, however. Ask the butcher for leg lamb with some fat, but no sinews.

Dough

310 g (10 1/2 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon dried yeast

50 ml (2 X oz) warm water

150 g (5 oz) plain yoghurt

extra-virgin olive oil

 

Minced lamb topping

250 g (9 oz) minced lamb, not too lean

1 tomato, seeded and finely diced

1 small purple onion, finely diced

1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely shredded

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 red bullet chill, seeded and finely diced

1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses

salt and pepper

pomegranate molasses, to serve

Labne, to serve

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt. Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water. In another small bowl, whisk together the yoghurt and olive oil. Pour the bubbling yeast into the flour with the yoghurt mix. Knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and silky. Lightly oil the ball of dough and put it into a bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for 2 hours, by which time it should have at least doubled in size.

To prepare the filling, place the mince on a large chopping board and put all the other ingredients, except for the salt and pepper, on top. Use a large knife to chop and mix everything together until well combined. It should be the consistency of a fine paste. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Knock the air out of the dough then tip it out onto a floured work surface.

Dust your rolling pin with flour, then roll the pastry out as thinly as you can. Cut into 12 rounds, around 10 cm (4 in) in diameter. Place a spoonful of mixture in the centre of each round. Moisten the edges of the pastry with a little water, then pinch the corners together to form the traditional shape.

Bake the pies for 8–10 minutes. Top each pie with a few drops of pomegranate molasses and a blob of Labne (yoghurt cheese).