Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Warka Pastry

Tunisian Brik Pastry (Feuilles de Brick) is the name you'll see on the packet but that is more an indication of what you can make with the pastry.

warka also known as malsouka, dioul, brik, feuilles de brick

Warka is name for this ultra thin pastry that is a bit like a crisp crepe - you can see it has a fine cellulose structure in the photos. Unlike filo (phyllo) this is a cooked pastry. It's pliable yet feels firm. It's quite an different product to work with as you are constantly thinking that you will rip it and it's just too thin to use.

warka also known as malsouka, dioul, brik, feuilles de brick

The pastry is used to make Tunisian Briks or Brics (which are sweet or savoury filled parcels) and Moroccan Bisteeya (traditionally a pigeon pie).

I am not going to pretend that I'm making anything remotely traditional or authentic with this pastry, I've just used it as a wrapper for a savoury meat filling.

Savoury Bricks

Savoury Bricks

200 grams roughly minced beef
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon sumac
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup peas

Make the filling:

Heat a little oil in a pan and when heated, add the onion. Sauté over a medium-low heat until softened and starting to colour. Don't cook this too quickly as you want the flavour of the onion to develop.

Add the minced meat in batches to maintain and even temperature in the pan. When browned add the next batch.

When all the meat is added, sprinkle in the spices - do taste as you go and adjust the spices to suit your palate.

Cook this for about 5 minutes before adding the peas and then continue cooking on a low heat until the peas are tender.

Let the mixture cool before using.

Make the Bricks:

The sheets are sold as circles (30cm/12 inch diameter). I'll be rolling them to form a "spring roll" type shape.

Place one sheet on a board and fold the bottom edge over slightly to create a flat edge on the circle.

Place the filling along the width of this flat edge - roll over once and then fold in the sides to create a rectangle. Continue rolling until you nearly reach the end - brush the surface with a little oil before rolling it up. Place it seam side down while you make the remaining rolls.

Cook the bricks:

Heat a little oil in a non-stick skillet and when hot add the bricks, seam side down - depending on the size of your skillet try not to cook more then two at the same time.

The pastry needs to sizzle when it hits the pan or you won't get that crisp finish. When it has browned, turn it over and cook the other side. Remember to also cook the narrow sides of the roll to get that all round even colouring.

When cooked place on paper towels to remove any excess oil and then serve at once.

savoury bricks

These are best eaten as you make them to fully enjoy that wonderful crunch of the pastry. It is a little fiddly but well worth it if you are interested in trying something a bit different.

In Melbourne, you'll find these sheets at The Essential Ingredient. Similar sheets are also available in Amazon.

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  1. Came on the post and glanced at the photos--- thought you had hand made the pastry! I was about to faint and call you the pastry goddess!

    Ok, so you're still my hero, but it still is very impressive that those sheets are so thin.

  2. These wrappers look incredible and your bricks look delicious. I will have to see if I can find this!

  3. I got excited about you making the pastry as well (here's a challenge for you now:) I attended a cookery demonstration by Sam & Sam Moro (of the well-known Moro restaurant in London) in Edinburgh last year, and they made warka in the studio kitchen. It didn't look so complicated actually, but I'm still only _thinking_ about making it myself..

  4. Haalo, I have never heard of this pastry. Now I will be on the look out for it here. BTW I have awarded you the Creative Blogger Award, you can retrieve it for your blog over on my food blog.

  5. Thanks Jaden, I think I would faint if I tried making the pastry!

    Thanks Deborah - the pastry is so different to filo, it doesn't shatter when you bite into it, it just is very crisp.

    Hi Pille - the recipe doesn't look complicated but it probably boils down to the technique behind it - those sheets are just so thin.

    Thank you so much Pat, that is so lovely you of!

  6. Was watching Rick Stein here on the telly tonight as he was visiting Turkey and they made this bread type of stuff on the show. It was fascinating watching them and I remembered this post!!! Thanks!!!

  7. The photos look great and the recipe sounds tasty. The warka sounds interesting though it does look like it would be difficult to work with.

  8. Oh, my God, they look wonderful!!! I regularly make this speciality and love it! Appetizing...

  9. Hi Pat - talk about a lucky coincidence!

    Thanks Kevin - when cooked it's such a wonderful pastry, it's so crisp but not sharp at all. It wasn't as hard to work with as I imagined, it's quite sturdy even though it is so thin.

    Thanks Rosa!

  10. I love warka, so beautiful and thin. It always seems like you have good access to Middle Eastern ingredients in Australia- in the U.S. (new york, washington), these ingredients are almost impossible to find. Things like warka, yufka, mastic, sahlep, etc. I love seeing these things featured on your site, do continue!

  11. These are the kind of sheets I grew up with. Unlike filo sheets, you can't bake them, only fry them. At least my mother told me so!There is a similar brick recipe to the one you made, You add to the filling, Harissa and 1 egg per brick. You don't mix it to the filling, You close quickly and fry them. The egg yolk will still be runny. The tradition goes that when eating these bricks, if somebody drops just a tiny bit of egg yolk on his plate, he will be the devoted server of anybody sitting on the table for the whole day. It was fun to have my brother being my server by not when I was the server.

  12. Thanks Mercedes - we are pretty lucky that we can find most things, some things though remain elusive due to quarantine regulations.

    Hi Rose - yep I've seen the egg filled ones and I was tempted to make them but decided to keep it simple. I quite like the servant thing, I should try that on Paalo ;)


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