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Shared by Ayelet Izraeli

Cheese Sambusak (Savory Cheese Hand Pie)

Yield: 4 dozenTime: 30min plus 50 min baking

Cheese Sambusak (Savory Cheese Hand Pie)

Yield: 4 dozenTime: 30min plus 50 min baking

Family Journey

BaghdadAkko, Israel
Ramat Aviv

This recipe was shared by Ayelet Izraeli. Read more about her family in "An Iraqi Purim Tradition Lives On — Courtesy of a Granddaughter" and try her recipes for Iraqi Purim dough, hadgi coconut, and b'ebe b'tamer.


  • 1 lb. hard, salty cheese (like feta, kashkaval, sulguni, kasseri, or a combination), grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons cottage cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • sesame seeds, for sprinkling
  • Iraqi Purim Dough
Baking ProjectsAppetizersPurimPareveDairyVegetarianMiddle East


  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Step 2

    In a medium bowl, mix together the cheese, 1 egg, cottage cheese, until well combined.

  • Step 3

    On a clean work surface, roll out one fourth of the dough into a ⅙” circle. Using a 3” diameter glass, cut circles in the dough. Reserve the leftover dough between the circles for k’aakat.

  • Step 4

    Place 1 ½ teaspoons of the cheese mixture in the center of each circle. Fold the dough in half over the filling forming a half moon shape and press to seal the edges together (being careful not to create air pockets).

  • Step 5

    Using a fork, score along the entire edge of the sambusak. This will help seal them and also make them look pretty. Place on the prepared baking sheet (they will not expand much during baking so there should be some space in between them, but not too much is needed).

  • Step 6

    In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg. Lightly brush each sambusak with a coating of egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  • Step 7

    Bake until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through, 20-24 minutes (baking time will be longer if you bake more than one sheet of sambusak at a time).

  • Step 8

    Let cool, then serve or freeze until serving.

Ayelet always prepares all the cookies at least 2 weeks ahead, in a few batches, and keeps them in the freezer until the day of the gathering.

Traditionally several pounds of this dough was made. The filling was never measured - a filling was made and used, than another until everything was used up. The leftovers of the dough were always made into the k’aakat…It’s all flexible.