Pastilla is an elaborate meat pie
traditionally made of squab (fledgling pigeons). As squabs are often hard to
get, shredded chicken is more often used today; pastilla can also use fish as a
filling. It is typical of Morocco and highly regarded as a national dish of that
country; variants are also found elsewhere in the Maghreb.
Left: Algerian-style pastilla nearing
It is a pie which combines sweet and
salty flavours; a combination of crisp layers of the crêpe-like warka dough (a
thinner cousin of the phyllo dough), savory meat slow-cooked in broth and spices
and shredded, and a crunchy layer of toasted and ground almonds, cinnamon, and
The filling is made a day ahead, and is made by browning the meat pieces in oil.
The pieces are then transferred to a bowl, and with the remaining oil, onions,
water, parsley, and various spices are cooked. The liquid is then chilled, and
after, thickened to form a custard-like sauce with beaten eggs. The flesh and
skin from the bones is shredded and added to the sauce, and it is chilled
In a round pizza pan, the first dough layer is added, and butter brushed onto
it. The cook adds the sauce over the dough, and places two more sheets on top.
It is then dried, sprinked with confectioner's sugar and perhaps more cinnamon,