**Harissa, a North African chile sauce , lends heat to these hand pies. Brand vary in intensity, so taste yours first. If it seems fiery , start with a little, and cook a portion of the meat to taste. You can also make your own sauce.
Dried apricots and harissa give sweetness and spice to a meaty filling wrapped in a buttery, flaky crust.
This is a recipe I found in Martha Stewart magazine in 2007.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium – high heat. Cook eggplant with salt, stirring occasionally, until tender and slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
Mix together eggplant, meat, apricots, and harissa until just combined. Divide into 40 and shape into a small sausage.
Make the short crust pastry and make 4 disks. Roll out 1 disk at a time to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
Cut into 5 inch circles. Refrigerate scrapes if needed.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly brush edges of 1 dough circle with egg wash. Top with 1 portion of meat. Fold dough to encase filling, forming a half moon. Carefully press around edges to seal. Press with a fork. Make a vent in the top using a skewer or a kniife. Repeat with remaining dough and meat, transferring pies to parchment lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until dough is very firm, about an hour or freeze for 30 min.
Brush tops with eggwash. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden and filling is cooked through, about 40 minutees. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Uncooked pies can be frozen, wrapped in plastic, for up to a month. Proceed with baking instruction(no extra baking time needed)
Harissa is a fiery blend of chilies and spices, in the form of a thick paste. Harissa is native to the northern African countries of Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. The history of Harissa is linked closely to that of the red pepper, which was introduced to Europe and North Africa in the 1400s. Harissa is a staple food often eaten with every meal in Morocco and its neighboring countries.
Harissa is usually made with ingredients such as chilies, garlic, vinegar, salt, and olive oil, though the recipe for Harissa varies based on the region of production. While the base of Harissa is hot chili peppers, additional ingredients may include coriander, caraway, paprika, lemon juice or cumin. The type of pepper used will determine the heat of the chili paste.
Harissa is traditionally eaten alongside couscous, but also adds a bright vibrant flavor to sauces, dressings, marinades and soup. Harissa adds a flavorful kick to sandwiches, roasted vegetables, rice or noodles. Delicious when spread on lamb, or mixed into the sauce of a braise. Harissa is also a perfect sauce to spoon over eggs or potatoes.
12 fresh red finger-length chillies
1-1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
2. tsp tomato paste
2 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp light olive oil
7 drops rose water
Roast the coriander and caraway seeds over the heat in a dry frying pan until fragrant, making sure they do not burn, then work to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder.
In a blender add all the ingredients and blend to a fine paste, then set aside for at least an hour before using it.
The fiery paste can be turned into a mellow dip by stirring through natural yoghurt.
The Harissa will keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
FREEZE: In nice cube trays, then pop out and use when needed.