Lebanese Feta Cheese Crescents (Sambousik bi Jibni) Recipe

Similar Lebanese Food recipes: Appetizers

This pastry is simple to prepare and easy to handle. The crispy outer layers taste as though you are biting into
a pillow filled with warm cheese. They are perfect for tray-passed hors d’oeuvrvs. on a cocktail buffet, or as a
mid-aflenioon snack. You can also use this filling when preparing the Greek layered pastry called tyropita.

Yield: About 2 Dozen

Specialty ingredients: Bulgarian feta cheese (other brands will do).
Special equipment: A pastry blender, a 2-1/2-inch
round cookie cutter, and a candy/fry thermometer.
Prepare ahead: The uncooked crescents can be
frozen for several weeks. Freeze uncovered on a
plastic-lined baking sheet, then transfer to an air-
tight container. Fry as directed without thawing.

FOR THE SAMBOUSIK PASTRY
1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
6 tablespoons chilled butter, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon cold water
2 cups canola oil (for frying)

FOR THE FILLING
1/4 pound Bulgarian feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley; use green
leafy parts and tender stems
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

To prepare the sambousik pastry
Combine the flour, butter, and salt in a bowl. Using a
pastry blender in a rocking motion, cut the butter Into
the flour by pressing It up against the sides and the
bottom of the bowl until all the pieces of butter have
been cut in and the mixture resembles commeal. (If
you do not have a pastry blender, use the tines of a
fork to press the butter Into the flour: it takes a bit
longer, but it will work.)
Add the cold water, mixing quickly with your hand
to form the dough. Shape the dough into a disc
about 1 Inch thick. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap
and refrigerate: this allows the dough to rest. After
1 hour, remove the dough from the refrigerator and
let It stand for 10 minutes at room temperature prior
to rolling.
To prepare the filling
Separately press the feta cheese and onion between
paper towels until they are dry. Combine the feta
cheese, onion, parsley, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
Use the tines of a fork to mix the ingredients until
they are well combined. Portion the cheese Into
I teaspoon, egg-shaped balls and place them on
a plate double-lined with paper towels to absorb
excess liquid. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and
refrigerate until needed. Remove the filling from
the refrigerator 10 minutes prior to preparing the
crescents.

To prepare the crescents
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to
1/8-inch thickness. Gently hold the rolled-out dough
by the edges and lift it about 2 inches off the coun-
ter (this will allow any contraction in the dough to
occur before cutting). Cut the dough Into 2-1/2-lnch
rounds using a cookie cutter: make one cut directly
next to the other to maximize the number of rounds.
Cover the rounds with plastic wrap to avoid drying.
Pick up 1 round at a time and flip it over so that
you are placing the filling on the underside of the
dough (or whichever side seems stickier). Place a
portion of cheese In the center. Fold the dough over
the cheese so It forms a half-moon crescent. Firmly
pinch the edges together with your fingers, securing
the cheese inside white forming an outer rim 1/4 inch
wide. (Avoid getting cheese trapped in between the
edges: this may cause the crescents to open later.)
Fill the remaining rounds.
Place the crescents flat on your work surface. Using
the tines of a fork, press firmly along the outer rim
of each crescent to crimp the edges, locking the
cheese inside. Re careful not to pierce the dough.
Alternatively, you can crimp the edges as you would
a piecrust.

Heat the oil to 375°F in a small saucepan over
medium-high heat, using a candy/fry thermometer
for accuracy. The oil should he about 1 inch deep.
Fry 6 crescents at a time until golden brown, then
transfer to a plate double-lined with paper towels.
Fry the remaining crescents. Make sure the temper-
ature of the oil remains at 375°F so that the cres-
cents fry evenly. Let them cool for several minutes
prior to serving.

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