Pastel (Israeli Spiced Meat Pie)

This was originally posted in February 2017 for one of our Bookclub meetings and and helped to set the theme for the Israeli/Egyptian Spy theme.

Israeli Meat Pie

“This is borrowed from NYT Cooking, adapted from the “Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking” by the chef Michael Solomon, it is is scented with cinnamon, dill and parsley. The recipe calls for purchased puff pastry, which makes it extremely simple to make yet wonderfully rich to eat. Leftovers will last for a few days in the refrigerator. Reheat at 350 degrees before serving.”

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 med onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 large carrots (finely chopped ( I cheated and used pre chopped onion and shredded carrots and chopped from there – about a 1/bag))
  • 2 pounds ground beef ((If you use pre-packaged beef – no stress its forgiving if you use more than 2lbs – but I did slit mine between lower fat ration and regular ratio))
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon (I ended up using about a 1/2 teaspoon more)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 pound puff pastry (defrosted (see note))
  • 3 large eggs (I used 4 since the batch I had was small)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dill (in the future I will play with more combinations of herbs as well))
  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and sauté until vegetables have softened, but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. 

    Note – I found that if I precooked the veg, then removed them while starting the meat – I got a better brown. Adding the veg about 1/2 way into the meat browning.

  2. Add beef, cinnamon, salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Cook until beef begins to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let mixture cool completely.

    I set this aside, cooled and stored overnight since I wanted to bake this the next day.

  3. Take your time and make sure it cooks well

  4. While beef is cooking, split puff pastry in half if it’s in one piece. Roll out each piece with a floured rolling pin to roughly 9 x 11 inches. Line an 8- or 9- x 11-inch baking dish, or a shallow 2-quart gratin dish, with 1 piece of pastry, pulling up the dough to cover the sides of baking dish.

  5. Whisk 2 (or three) eggs and add to cooled beef mixture. (Mix well. I also added some extra parsley here since I wasn’t using the dill) 

  6. Spoon mixture over pastry and top with chopped parsley and dill. Top with remaining piece of pastry, pinching together the sides of both pieces of pastry. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour (and up to 4 hours) or freeze for 15 minutes.

  7. Top with remaining piece of pastry, pinching together the sides of both pieces of pastry.

  8. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour (and up to 4 hours) or freeze for 15 minutes.

  9. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk remaining egg and brush over pastry. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

    Note: I added some cinnamon to the sesame seeds and stored them before topping just to add some kick.

  10. Bake until golden on top, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool 15 to 20 minutes before cutting. 

  11. Pastel may appear wet when removed from oven, but pastry will absorb the moisture as it sits.