Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ladies Fingers

While the name fits in with the theme for this month's Blog Party, these delectable Lebanese treats will be welcome at any celebration.

The recipe comes from local cooking legend and restaurateur Abla Amad and her classic book The Lebanese Kitchen. The original recipe calls for lamb mince but I have used beef.

Please note: No fingers have been harmed in the making of the following dish.

ladies fingers© by Haalo, on Flickr

Filo Pastry
40 grams pine nuts
250 grams minced beef (or lamb)
1 onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon sumac
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make the filling:
Drizzle a little olive oil in a skillet and place over a low heat. Add the pine nuts and stir constantly until golden. Be very careful as they will very easily burn. As soon as you see them start to change colour, remove the pan from the heat and keep stirring. When they are evenly coloured, place them on paper towels to drain.

In the same pan, add a little oil along with the onion, cumin, allspice and sumac. Cook until the onion has softened and become translucent. Add the meat and continue to stir - cook until the meat has changed colour and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add back the pine nuts, stir to distribute them evenly and then place the mixture into a bowl to cool.

Make the Ladies' Fingers:
Cut the filo sheets into 8cm/3 inch wide x 25cm/9 inch long strips.

Form pairs with these strips - sandwich these layers together with a little melted butter.

Take one sandwiched pair and place it in front of you and then place another sandwiched pair at the base of this strip to form an inverted T.

Place a good teaspoon of filling in the centre to form a sausage shape.

ladies fingers© by Haalo

Fold the sides in and over the filling. Brush the exposed pastry with a little melted butter and roll to form a tight cigar shape.

ladies fingers© by Haalo

Repeat the process with the remaining filling - you should get around 20 ladies' fingers. You can store these in the fridge until you are ready to cook between sheets of baking paper so they don't stick together.

To cook:

Place a sheet of baking paper onto a baking tray - brush the sheet with a little olive oil and then arrange the ladies fingers on top. Brush these with a little extra oil and then bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F until golden - about 20 minutes.

<ladies fingers© by Haalo

Arrange on wire racks to cool slightly - these are best served warm from the oven.

ladies fingers© by Haalo


  1. These sound perfect for when I have visitors arriving any time throughout the the fact that they can be left in the fridge until needed...looks like I will be making these Wednesday...Thanks

  2. Thanks Kaztas - hope you enjoy them!


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