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Shared by Yedida and Elli Dabah

Yedida's Pastelicos

Yield: ~50 pastelicosTime: 2 h + 1 h baking time

Yedida's Pastelicos

Yield: ~50 pastelicosTime: 2 h + 1 h baking time

Family Journey

SpainItalySafed, Israel

Yedida added the warming North African spice blend ras-el-hanout to this recipe after a trip to Morocco. Her mother Dvora used baharat, a Middle Eastern spice blend commonly made with allspice, cumin, black pepper, coriander and cumin seeds, and several other spices.


For the filling

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

For the dough

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 sticks + 5 tablespoons unsalted margarine (kosher) or butter
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds, for sprinkling


  • Step 1

    Prepare the filling: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally until golden and soft, 15-20 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Add the ground beef and sauté, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon until cooked through, about 5 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Add the water and cook down until the water evaporates, about 5 more minutes.

  • Step 4

    Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts over medium heat in a dry skillet until aromatic and golden, about 5 minutes.

  • Step 5

    Add the pine nuts, Ras el Hanout, salt, and pepper to the meat and onion mixture. Mix well and remove from heat.

  • Step 6

    Transfer the mixture to a heat resistant container and place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes or overnight (the filling is better done a day ahead and placed in the fridge to cool for easier handling).

  • Step 7

    Make the dough: In a medium saucepan, place the water, margarine or butter, oil, and salt. Heat over  medium until the mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until well combined. Allow the dough to cool for a few minutes until it can be easily handled.

  • Step 8

    Preheat the oven to 400°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • Step 9

    Stuff and shape the pastelicos: Pinch off a small amount of dough, about the size of a large cherry tomato. Roll into a ball shape and press down on the center of the dough forming a 1” pocket for the filling. Fill the pocket with a teaspoonful of filling (to the top edges of the dough pocket). Then, take a smaller piece of dough, and press it into a disc shape that fits over the top of the pocket. Pinch around the edges to connect the top to the bottom. Create a design around the edge of the pocket, which Yedida refers to as repulgo, and in Spanish means crimping or fancy edging (see below). Place the finished pastelico on the prepared baking sheet (they can be placed quite close to one another as they will not rise or expand much when baking). Continue with the rest of the dough and filling.

  • Step 10

    Sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly over the top of the pastelicos. Place in the oven and bake, until golden brown, about 1 hour. For more even baking, bake each tray separately.

  • Step 11

    Serve hot or at room temperature with tahini sauce, vegetable salad, and hard boiled eggs.